Iran set to open 150 al­co­hol treat­ment cen­ters: min­istry

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Iran plans to open 150 al­co­hol treat­ment cen­ters, a health min­istry of­fi­cial said on Mon­day, in an ac­knowl­edge­ment of the scale of abuse in a coun­try where drink­ing is il­le­gal.

The head of the min­istry’s drug abuse depart­ment, Dr. Alireza Norouzi, told the ISNA news agency that the 150 day cen­ters would pro­vide spe­cial set­tings and ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses to help peo­ple give up al­co­hol.

Six of the cen­ters to be opened by March 2016 would also pro­vide in-pa­tient detox­i­fi­ca­tion, Norouzi said.

Iran opened its first detox­i­fi­ca­tion cen­ter in Tehran in late 2013.

Au­thor­i­ties es­ti­mate that as many as 200,000 Ira­ni­ans have an al­co­hol prob­lem de­spite the ban on drink­ing in force since the Is­lamic revo­lu­tion of 1979.

The sole ex­emp­tion is for Iran’s Chris­tian mi­nor­ity, which is al­lowed to pro­duce wine for use in Mass.

But liquor is widely pro­duced il­lic­itly, lead­ing to fre­quent re­ports of deaths from adul­ter­ated al­co­hol. It is also smug­gled in from neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly Turkey and Kur­dish parts of Iraq.

Traf­fic po­lice al­ready in­tro­duced road­side breath tests sev­eral years ago in a bid to tackle drink driv­ing. Of­fend­ers face a fine of two mil­lion ri­als (US$67 at the of­fi­cial rate).

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