Tehran has established a laboratory to perform round-the-clock testing for drugs and alcohol, both of which are illegal in the Islamic republic, papers said Thursday.
The 24-hour lab, which will use both breathalyzers and blood tests, will keep those suspected of violating the ban from having to spend the night in jail, newspapers said.
The production, sale and consumption of alcohol has been forbidden in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, although Christians and Jews are allowed to drink it.
The ban is widely disregarded, and large amounts of alcohol are both produced domestically and smuggled in from abroad.
Drug use is strictly forbidden, and Iranian law calls for the death penalty for those convicted of possessing more than five kilograms of opium or 30 grams of heroin.
According to official statistics, some two million of Iran's population of 60 million are drug addicts, and authorities are increasingly expressing concern over the sharp rise in drug use.
Some 75 percent of Iranian prisoners are in jail for drugs-related charges -- TEHRAN (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)