Survey of Substance Abuse in Iraq

Overview and Objectives

URC and UCLA worked closely with the Iraqi Ministry of Health (MOH), IRSAM, the Iraqi Community Epidemiology Work Group, and other stakeholders at national and local levels to design and implement a survey to assess substance abuse in Iraq.

The study’s objectives were to:

  • Compile demographic data on the incidence of licit and illicit drug use,
  • Identify factors that contribute to drug and alcohol abuse,
  • Identify emerging trends and patterns of drug use,
  • Identify social disincentives to acknowledging drug use, and
  • Identify the national drug use prevalence rate for the country and each governorate.

The potential uses for this data are vast, but project’s main objective is to assist policymakers and treatment providers in designing appropriate interventions and provide a more comprehensive profile of substance abuse patterns. The survey results will be fed back to the MOH and other stakeholders for consensus building on policy and programmatic issues to reduce substance abuse in the country.

The project was implemented via a phased approach:

  • Phase 1 (months 1–3): Design study (develop survey methodology, develop survey instruments and tools, and field test them)
  • Phase 2 (months 4–5): Recruit and train Iraqi staff and field test instruments
  • Phase 3 (months 6–18): Conduct survey
  • Phase 4 (months 19–24): Compile survey results, complete data analysis, prepare and present final report, and support national policy and programmatic strategy development



Middle East

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United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)

Iraqi Community Epidemiology Work Group, Iraqi Society for Addiction Medicine (IRSAM), Ministry of Health - Iraq, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)