13,000 held on drug-related charges

Drug enforcement official urges private sector involvement in rehabilitating addicts

November 21 — A senior official from the General Directorate for Drug Control is calling for private sector engagement in efforts to rehabilitate drug users amid an alarming trend of illegal substance trafficking across the country.

Colonel Muhannad Hatem Saleh, an official at the General Directorate for Drugs, shared in an interview with journalist Karim Hamadi:

We have apprehended 108 suspects in 2023, including both Iraqis and foreigners, under Article 27, which pertains to international trade. Seventy of them have been convicted, with sentences ranging from death to life imprisonment. The total number of individuals detained on drug-related charges is 13,000, with 8,000 of them already convicted and the rest under investigation. There is a need to allow the private sector to collaborate with the Ministry of Health in the rehabilitation and treatment of addicts, moving away from reliance solely on government hospitals. The central and southern governorates are hotspots for drug trafficking, along with Nineveh and Anbar due to their location on the borders. Baghdad remains a primary hub for drug distribution.