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The Iranian authorities burned more than 50,000 kg of drugs in 2014
The Iranian authorities burned more than 50,000 kg of drugs in 2014
Alidad Vassigh

Iran's Islamic regime may have harsh penalties for drug trafficking, but officials are now estimating that the number of "regular drug users' has doubled in the past six years, from 1.3 million to about 2.8 million.

The head of the country's drug control organization, Parviz Afshar, told Iran's ISNA news agency that currently "about 2.8 million" Iranians (in a country of 80 million) were regular users, of which 67% were hooked on traditional opium and eight percent on newer synthetic drugs. Afshar said the figures were estimates based on recent studies on a sample population of 60,000.

The public is skeptical of official figures on social vices

Agence France-Presse reports that underlying Iran's rising drug use may be its geography. The country lies between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where drugs are cultivated and produced, and Western consumers, making it a key transit route as well as a first market for a range of drugs.

The Tehran-based daily Aftab-e Yazd, suggested this week that the public was skeptical of official figures on "social vices' like drug use or divorce, suspecting that the government often lowers the totals to avoid social alarm or contempt. The distrust, the newspaper writes, increased when the conservative government led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made drug use figures confidential in 2002.

The publication cited the Tehran-based sociologist Ardeshir Geravand who stated that it was difficult to calculate the precise number of addicts — or to define them clearly — but that there could be as many as five to seven million addicts in Iran.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
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-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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