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BAGHDAD – An official of Iraq’s Health Ministry has warned the country is in danger of transforming from a transit country for narcotics into a drugs-consuming nation, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq reports.

At an event in the run-up to International Antinarcotics Day (June 27), Nisayif Jassim, of the National Psychological Health Board, said a March survey indicates that the rate of drug addiction in Iraq is less than 1 percent, compared to addiction rates nearing 20 percent among some of Iraq’s neighbors.

But Mushtaq Talib, who directs the Health Ministry’s antinarcotics program, told RFE/RL that efforts must be stepped up to prevent the drug-addiction problem from getting worse.

Fawzi al-Hadithi, director of health and the environment at the Human Rights Ministry, said a draft antinarcotics law that meets Iraq’s international human-rights obligations has been submitted to parliament.

He stressed that the new law treats addicts as people needing treatment rather than as criminals.
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