A maverick doctor combines needle exchange and methadone to fight
Iran’s serious heroin problem. The Islamic government supports him — so far.
TEHRAN — In the unforgiving world of heroin addiction, 43-year-old Ali is a model of self-restraint. Anybody that is still alive after doing smack for 22 years — an endless cycle of searching, scoring, shooting — must know how to hold back a little.
“Most of my friends are already dead,” he says during an interview inside the Persepolis Harm Reduction Center, off a back alley in a shabby part of Tehran. “But since I was working I didn’t overdose.”