Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, February 20, 2015

Priorities? Capacity? Islam?

Understandably this issue doesn't get much publicity, but it's a good case study of the government's priorities and capacities. It's also a good place to question the role of Islam in the government.

Drug Abuse in Iran Rising Despite Executions, Police Raids
Iran is breaking bad.

Officials say methamphetamine production and abuse of hard drugs are skyrocketing in the country despite potentially lethal criminal penalties for users if they are caught. The increase is partly because of Iran's status as the gateway for the region's top drug exporter, Afghanistan — and partly because Iranian dealers are profiting so handsomely…
Iranian policeman and seized hashish
Anti-narcotics and medical officials say more than 2.2 million of Iran's 80 million citizens already are addicted to illegal drugs, including 1.3 million on registered treatment programs. They say the numbers keep rising annually…

Iran's health ministry was slow to finance rehabilitation clinics nationwide, but a growing network of private camps has sprung up that partly receive state financing, some of them run by former or recovering addicts.

"When I set up this shelter, authorities didn't support me. But after several years of hard work, they were convinced that it's better to provide care and shelter to addicts," said Majid Mirzaei, manager of a Tehran shelter for drug addicts and a former addict himself…

Officials say Iran's taste for illegal narcotics is certain to expand into greater abuse of heroin, simply because next door is Afghanistan, maker of three-fourths of the world supply…

Iran has also stepped up a public awareness campaign to prevent and slow down the dangerous trend.

"Increasing public awareness about the dangers of illicit drugs is the best remedy," said Homayoun Hashemi, the head of Iran's State Welfare Organization.

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