Criminals or victims?
“Crystal meth” is the most popular substance in Iraq, in addition to other narcotic substances and psychotropic substances, including hashish and Captagon, which is locally called “0-1”, as these substances are frequently used among young people, especially the age groups between 17 and 35 years. According to the Iraqi Human Rights Commission.
The penalties for drug trafficking in Iraqi law reach to death sentence. As for those abusing these substances, the penalties amount to imprisonment for a period of not less than one year and not exceeding three years, and a fine of not less than five million dinars and not more than ten million. Instead of imposing the penalty stipulated in the law, the court may place someone who is proven addicted to medical institutions or visit psychosocial clinics.
Despite the law giving the courts the right to abolish punishment and replace it with detention in clinics, the Human Rights Commission stated that a number of drug users are afraid to surrender themselves as a result of the necessity to pass the legal procedures.
A member of the Human Rights Commission, Ali Al-Bayati, says that “the treatment of drug users can only be done through their passage to the security authorities,” indicating that “dealing with drug users as criminals and not victims, represents one of the biggest obstacles for them to review rehabilitation clinics for fear of legal punishment.” .
Al-Bayati reveals that “in one of the remote psychotherapy campaigns run by the Commission, 1,400 people beneficiaries participated, among whom about 100 drug abusers needed treatment, but they were concealing their condition for fear of legal penalties,” stressing the need to change the law, which he described as “wrong.” “.
Link to domestic violence and suicide
Cases of domestic violence have increased dramatically in Iraq during the current year, especially with the failure to enact a law to curb it and the reluctance of political blocs to pass the law.
Observers and researchers link the increase in violence and domestic crimes to the widespread use of narcotic substances, as it was common more than once that family murders were linked to drug abuse, the last of which was the killing of two young women by their brother in Baghdad days ago.
In this regard, Al-Bayati explains that “through the information received by us from the investigations into these crimes, it became clear that several perpetrators were under the influence of narcotic substances.”
He points out that “a number of suicides, which have increased in recent years, are also related to drug use.”
Despite the wide spread of drugs in Iraq, the government agencies involved in this file do not show interest commensurate with the scale of the disaster, according to Al-Bayati, who points out that “the drug abuse file in Iraq has become more dangerous than the terrorism file.”
He confirms that there is another problem related to “the contribution of some pharmacies in promoting prohibited and narcotic substances due to weak government control,” indicating that “Iraq is no longer an importer or a conduit for drugs, but rather has become a producer of many of them.”
The Commission had announced earlier that the number of people arrested and convicted in cases of drug trafficking and abuse for the year 2018 amounted to 9,328, and in 2019 it recorded 6,407 cases. While their number from the beginning of the current year 2020 until the first of September reached 4,594 excluding Kurdistan region.
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