But Molly Moore of the Washington Post writes: "A nationwide escalation in drug addiction is not only overloading (Iranian) courts, overcrowding prisons and overwhelming health systems, but is threatening a restless generation of young Iranians who have few job opportunities and practically no outlets for leisure activities in this strict Islamic state. . . .
Since the 1979 revolution that transformed Iran from a monarchy to an Islamic theocracy, government policies aimed at wiping out drug use have actually exacerbated the problem. The country's ruling clerics deemed drug addiction a crime, discouraged public acknowledgment of social ills and refused outside help in confronting internal problems."
There now is awareness but has that occurred in time?
Addiction rates also are rising dramatically among women and rural populations that previously had no serious abuse problems. The incidence of the HIV virus and AIDS has begun to climb alarmingly.
The main problems: Ready availability of low-cost drugs because of opiates moving through Iran from Afghanistan en route to markets in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The current price of a gram of opium in Tehran is about $1.50, the same as a pack of Marlboro Lights cigarettes, according to the United Nations Drug Control Program office in Tehran.
So dictatorial "control" clearly is nowhere near as effective as it is cracked up to be where drugs are concerned.
But consider the United States, where 2 percent of the world's population uses something like 60 percent of the world's illicit drugs. There are job opportunities galore for young people, no society offers more entertainment, diversions and chances for self-realization and self-fulfillment. What a contrast with Iran! Wealth and poverty seem to be equal-opportunity predators where drugs are concerned.
Both these nations have serious drug abuse problems along with the related health issues. Something is terribly wrong here, and so far nobody has been able to produce a workable solution.
These are only two of the nations of the world that face such monumental hurdles. Some days it is quite difficult to move along with confidence that our world is getting better, as it once seemed to be doing.