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Crystal Meth Rapidly Replacing Heroin As Drug of Choice In Iran

The streets of Tehran have flooded with meth thanks to its cheap price and intense high.


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By John Lavitt


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In Iran, crystal meth is rapidly replacing heroin as the hip drug of choice. From students to housewives, Tehran has seen a staggering rise of crystal meth that has left a devastating trail of addiction. Almost as cheap as heroin from the Golden Crescent and equally as accessible, crystal meth abuse is a storm that has overwhelmed one of the most repressive governments of the modern age.  

According to a 2013 study by the United Nations, the first report of the manufacture of methamphetamine in Tehran was in 2008 when authorities seized four mom-and-pop labs operating in the city. By 2012, Iran was the world's fourth biggest importer of pseudoephedrine, the main precursor chemical used in crystal meth production. More than half a million Iranians have used the drug at least once.

With the highest per capita heroin addiction rate in the world, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli revealed the disturbing reality that over six million Iranians are affected by drug addiction. The center of the problem remains in Tehran where drugs continue to proliferate. Crystal meth is stupidly celebrated in the streets by addicts. "I love it," said one anonymous user to The Guardian. "It's much stronger than heroin, much more intense. And it's safer; there's no risk of overdosing."

A local dealer named Peyvand sells a gram for about $5. "Everyone buys it," he said. "Most of my customers are regular kids like me, students, or they've got office jobs. But rich kids use it too – I either deliver it to their houses, or they turn up in their flash cars. It's more expensive than heroin, and young people see it almost as a luxury drug; it's become a chic thing to do."

In Iran, meth has managed to transcend the social divides that have characterized meth abuse in Western countries. By crossing all socioeconomic boundaries, the crystal meth siege of Iran is not going to end anytime soon. The country is too far from hitting bottom.

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