On Aug. 26, Basra Governor Majed Nasraoui announced the arrest of more than 1,000 drug abusers and dealers, saying, “The individuals we have arrested come from different backgrounds. Most of them are unemployed citizens between 20 and 45 years old, in addition to a few women.”
He added, “There are many reasons that led to the aggravation of this phenomenon, including unemployment and the weakness of the Iraqi border in Basra, compared to neighboring countries, in addition to the easy access to materials used to produce drugs such as crystal, which can be manufactured locally.”
Not all drugs found in Basra came in from Iran, as there are labs in the city producing methamphetamines and selling them to users. On May 5, Basra security forces were able to seize one such lab, in which two non-Iraqis worked producing drugs.
Basra has found itself in a dilemma, with no rehabilitation center for drug addicts and no means to prosecute drug-trafficking gangs, which could be affiliated with political blocs or parties.
Basra’s situation is alarming, as the drugs produced or smuggled there could reach other Iraqi cities including the capital, and such proliferation could deepen the Iraqi crisis and create a new generation of drug users.