Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Daily Times - Iraq accuses Iran of supplying drugs

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iraq accuses Iran of supplying drugs

BAGHDAD: Iraqi health officials are worried about a surge of drug addicts in Iraq and accuse neighbouring countries such as Iran of supplying narcotics through the country’s porous borders.

There are no accurate figures on the extent of the problem, but it is definitely serious, admitted Iraq’s interim Health Minister Alaeddin Abdul Sahib Adwan.

“According to the information that we have received, the problem of drug abuse is becoming endemic in Iraq, particularly among teenagers and the young,” he told a news conference in Baghdad on Tuesday.

“Iraq is surrounded by countries that have a history of producing and commercialising illegal drugs, such as Afghanistan, Iran and certain Gulf states, where at the moment the borders are badly guarded,” he said.

The known number of declared drug addicts in Iraq is 2,029, with most of them concentrated in the south and the centre, said a health ministry official dealing with the fight against drugs, Siruane Kamel.

There are 286 registered addicts in the southern province of Maysan who receive treatment at clinics, while some five percent of the province’s population use drugs, the officials said.

“In the central province of Karbala, there are 679 drug adicts who are registed at clinics and four of them have died,” he noted. Kamel blamed “the Iranians who make drugs to be used by pilgrims in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.” afp"

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