The stunning paradox of Iran’s war on drugs: How it actually makes America look worse

Iran regularly puts drug traffickers to death—but it also tests out progressive policies for treating drug addicts

Situated between Afghanistan’s extensive poppy fields and eager Western markets, Iran has an extensive history of domestic opium, alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use dating back centuries. In recent decades, heroin has become more popular. Most recently, the use of methamphetamine has exploded and is reportedly in demand across the social spectrum, from tired workers to women seeking weight loss.

“Cocaine has become a regular feature at parties among Tehran’s richer residents; young people throughout the city smoke marijuana and pop ecstasy pills; opium – viewed as an older person’s drug – is still widely considered to be culturally acceptable. In seedy corners of south Tehran, addicts gather to inject heroin, as they always have done. But when crystal meth hit the streets it managed to transcend social divides, and could be found everywhere in...
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