Self-Immolation Leaves One Dead, 11 Injured at a Drug Rehab Center in Southern Iran

A dozen addicts set fire to themselves to protest their living conditions and treatment at a rehabilitation camp for men in Abshurak village in the southern province of Hormozgan, according to Farjam Danesh, the head of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in Bandar Abbas County. 

Mr. Danesh said: “Some residents of the drug rehab center issued an advanced warning to the local authorities. They barricaded themselves inside the center before setting fire to themselves and the building. Firefighters had to knock the walls down and rescue the people inside. Unfortunately, one person died, and 11 others were seriously injured.”  

Danesh added: “This was a desperate act of protest by the residents, who have been complaining about their treatment at the camp. The rehab center lacks any health and safety measures.”

Most drug rehabilitation and care centers in Iran do not operate according to acceptable treatment quality standards. There are no government guidelines or general operating procedures for drug recovery and reintegration programs.

Addiction is a disease, yet authorities in Iran treat those with drug habits as criminals. Most recovery camps are run like prisons instead of treatment centers. Local governments do not exercise due diligence when issuing operating permits to rehab centers. 

Many of these camps do not observe health and safety guidelines. Lack of qualified staff and the shortage of funds deprive addicts of proper medical treatment and psychological support at many of these centers.

Substandard sanitary and hygiene conditions are a significant problem at most recovery boot camps. Only five percent of all the rehab centers in the country operate in line with current health, safety, and sanitary standards. The majority of these centers operate without a license. There is also a shortage of healthcare workers, psychologists and medical professionals at recovery camps. 

Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi