A new book ‘Beating Drug Addiction in Tehran: A Women’s Clinic’ which explores the first women-only methadone clinic in Tehran, was launched on Sunday, 11 April 2021.

Written by Dr Kate Dolan, Adjunct Professor at The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney, the book reveals the hidden lives of four women who were treated at the clinic.

“This book details the incredible stories of these women and how they became drug users, the struggles they faced, and how they benefited from being in treatment,” said Dr Dolan.

Iran has the highest rate of opium use in the world and with alcohol banned many Iranians turn to opium.

“Iran implemented harm reduction measures early in the HIV epidemic like methadone clinics, however most clinics were overrun by men who use drugs,” said Dr Dolan.

“Women who used drugs were reluctant to seek help, so a women-only clinic was needed to attract women into treatment.”

Dr Dolan established the first methadone clinic for female drug users in Iran and was granted access to areas and people not normally afforded to outsiders.

“This book shares the insights I’ve observed, and the surprising stories I’ve been told,” said Dr Dolan.

“One of the most interesting aspects of the clinic was the safe room that allowed women to remove their hijabs, smoke cigarettes and reveal their life stories.”

Working at the clinic challenged assumptions Dr Dolan had of both Iran and its people.

“The stories I heard from the women were different to the usual stories one might hear from women who use drugs, which are mainly from women in the West,” said Dr Dolan.

“I came away with insights that are rare, even in the world of international development.”

Beating Drug Addiction in Tehran: A Women’s Clinic is available in print and e-book here.