Iran is notorious for the opium flowing within its borders. A significant portion of their population is plagued with addictions to opiates, and their meth problem is pretty severe as well. Some estimates in 2015 put the number of those addicted to illegal drugs at 2.2 million — 2.75% of the overall population. It has been credited as the country with the highest population of opiate addicts in the world, as well as the highest levels of opiate seizures in the world.

Iran is such a hotspot for drugs due to its geographical location. To the east lies Afghanistan and Pakistan, both considerable contributors to the heroin trade via their opiate production. To the west lies Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and all of Europe. As opium makes its way through Iran to reach its western customers, naturally a huge amount of drugs are going to be distributed along the way. Most highways are littered with businesses that cater to the people who drive on it — Iran is a highway for illicit drugs, and it’s littered with illicit businesses who cater to that.

Approximately 308,647 lbs of heroin or opium come through the country each year with the intent to be distributed internationally. Currently, it is estimated that authorities are only able to find a quarter of that amount as it passes through. Even just this quarter amounts to around 89% of all opium confiscation in the world.

It’s because of this that heroin is so widely used in Iran. Though the opium is generally unprocessed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iranian groups will derive heroin from opium in-country and sell it locally. Methamphetamines are also common there, accounting for approximately 8% of the drug use in the country.