TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- In a report Wednesday that exposes Iran's hidden social vices for the first time, an official acknowledged that prostitution and drug abuse were widespread among Iran's predominantly young population.
''Five tons of narcotics are consumed in Tehran every day. Official reports suggest that there are at least 2 million addicts. Some 100,000 addicts are in prison. Addiction to narcotics has even reached school classes,'' Mohammad Ali Zam, a Tehran official in charge of cultural affairs, said in a report published in Wednesday's newspapers.
Hassan Bolkhari, a university professor and cultural adviser at the education ministry, told The Associated Press that speaking openly about such problems was a step toward combatting them.
''So far, the establishment's approach was idealistic. Fortunately, now we see there is a greater degree of realism. This report is just a true reflection of bitter realities in our society,'' he said.
Shattering a taboo by admitting the existence of prostitution, the report said that the average age of prostitutes in Iran had dropped to 20 from 27 a few years ago. The report did not give an estimate for the number prostitutes.
Zam, who read his report to city council officials Monday, said that 90 percent of girls who run away from home fall into prostitution.
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