Tackling drug addiction
Population: 82.8 million; 99.4% Muslim; 0.3% Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish; 0.3% other
Literacy: 91.2% men; 82.5% women
Iran has the highest rate of drug addiction in the world, with at least 2 million Iranians in a population of 75 million addicted to illegal substances. Young men are at the centre of this phenomenon – with high unemployment, gender segregation and a ban on alcohol, drug use is seen as the only outlet for many. Drug dealing is also often seen as a way out of poverty, especially with a thriving heroin trade in neighbouring Afghanistan.
SAT-7 Farsi-speaking channel, SAT-7 PARS, is addressing this issue head-on with a suite of hard-hitting shows tackling the subject of drugs and drug addiction, particularly among young men.
SAT-7 has co-produced a social drama, Swamp, with famous Iranian actor Omid Ahangar, that considers the cost of drug addiction in society. The story is about a growing friendship between a journalist and a former drug addict, Nader, who has lost everything. It highlights how a relationship with God can change destructive patterns in an individual’s life.
Set to broadcast over the next month, Reality of Drugs in Iran is a 45-minute documentary presenting the testimonies of three people who have been involved with illegal substances. One is a woman whose husband was a drug-addict, another is a former drug-addict, and the third is a reformed drug dealer.
Currently, a live SAT-7 show, The Sound of Hope, presents facts and research about drug abuse and airs weekly. It is hosted by Revd Miltan Danil, an Iranian pastor who is a recovered drug addict himself. One of the aims of the programme is to communicate directly with viewers through challenging discussion, encouraging them to speak freely on air about their own situations. Revd Miltan wants to help viewers understand themselves and consider their relationship with God. He says:
I want to see people who are bound by addiction put their hope in Jesus, to see them healed and set free. Please pray that I may serve the Lord with His wisdom and strength and bring glory to His name. Pray that I may serve people who have all kinds of addictions with love and compassion and pray for the freedom of Iran.”
SAT-7’s viewer support teams receive an extremely high number of prayer and counselling requests concerning substance abuse. Viewers tell us about the continuous impact that SAT-7 programmes like The Sound of Hope are having on their lives. As one viewer wrote:
Every day I thank God for all of you especially you, dear brother Miltan. Just like the title of your programme (The Sound of Hope), you are a voice of hope to us and I want to thank and appreciate you. Being aware of my situation, you are the brother that gives me hope in the midst of all my hardship”.
Three distinct and different shows but one message – the hope of Christ for young lives searching for meaning beyond the pit of drug addiction.
- Pray for Iranian young men facing numerous pressures that push them to seek escape in substance abuse. Ask that the drama, Swamp, would show how God can change lives. Pray for SAT-7’s viewer support teams responding daily to requests for prayer and counsel.
- Pray for the Reality of Drugs in Iran documentary to reach and impact many through the testimonies of former drug addicts. Pray for organisations working to reduce the supply of drugs across the region. Pray for more Christians to have the courage to share their testimonies of freedom through Christ.
- A verse to pray for young Iranian men: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30