Opium in Iran

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Harvested poppy capsules

Opium in Iran is widely available, and the country has been estimated to have the highest per capita number of opioid addicts in the world[1][2] at a rate of 2.8% of Iranians over age 15. The Iranian government estimates the number of addicts at 2 million.[3] Opium and heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan—known collectively as the Golden Crescent—pass through Iran's eastern borders in large amounts.[3]


Total annual opium intercepts by the Iranian authorities are larger than in any other country.[4] The Iranian government admits that they can only intercept a tiny proportion of the thousands of tonnes that are trafficked through Iran every year.[3] Opium costs far less in Iran than in the West,[3] and is cheaper than beer.[2]

In Zahedan, an Iranian town near the Pakistani border, 3 grams of opium can be purchased for 10,000 Iranian rials, equivalent to less than ~$0.25 USD (based on an exchange rate of 42,000 IRR = $1 USD), and 1 kg costs the equivalent of ~$85.[5] In Zabol, $1 buys 5 grams of Afghan opium.[5] According to official Iranian government reports, within Tehran the daily consumption of opium is 4 metric tons.[6] According to UNODC estimates, 450 metric tons of opium are consumed in Iran each year.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marlowe, Lara (17 June 2014). "Hooked in Iran, where addiction rates are world's highest". Irish Times. The Irish Times.
  2. ^ a b Vick, Karl (September 23, 2005). "Opiates of the Iranian People, Despair Drives World's Highest Addiction Rate". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Oliver, Christian (3 January 2004). "Iran Opium Addicts Find Supplies Despite Earthquake". Reuters. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  4. ^ Samii, Bill (June 16, 2006). "Iran: Opium Cultivation Makes A Return". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b CHAMKA, Max (6 June 2005). "3 grams of opium for 1 dollar". Caucaz.com. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
  6. ^ B., Bamdad (August 24, 2004). "Low times: The drug problem". The Iranian. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  7. ^ "United Nations World Drug Report 2010 and Iran". payvand.com blog. 2010-06-24.