One of the most prevalent problems that the youth faces is that of drug addiction. Millions of people around the globe spend an unimaginable amount of money on this heinous addiction. Drug trafficking is a major global issue that the world is trying its best in curbing down.
Just like any other country in the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also not immune from this obstacle. In fact, since 2018, there has been a spike in the possession and usage of drugs in UAE. In order for battling this scenario, the government of the UAE for quite some time now has had a zero-tolerance policy on drug trafficking.
In the UAE, the Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 lays down the foundation on the control of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances and its amendments. It is also known as the ‘drug law’. This law criminalizes the production, import, export, transport, buying, selling, storing as well as possessing of narcotic and psychotropic substances in the country.
If the offender carries out any of the aforementioned activities without any supervision or if it doesn’t involve any scientific or medical reasons that are present in accordance with the law, he or she would be vulnerable to face punishment.
Creating a Safe, Better Place without Drug Trafficking
Drugs can prove to be beneficial as well as harmful depending on their purpose of usage. In the medical field, drugs have a pivotal role to play in curing several fatal diseases. For example, amphetamines can be used as a remedy for attention deficit disarray. On the other hand, barbiturates can help in treating anxiety-related ailments.
Marijuana, one of the most popular types of drugs, can help in curing cancer. But, all these drugs, when used without a prescription, can make someone an addict. Some provinces around the world have legalized Marijuana. Debates regarding whether or not to do the same in UAE are going on but most likely, it will remain illegal if used for recreational purposes.
These drugs, along with several others, pose a serious threat to society as a whole. Therefore, nipping it in the bud is quite essential. This is the reason why the government of the UAE issues legislature for prohibiting and restricting the illicit usage of illegal drugs.
Possession of such drugs without any prescription can lead to serious repercussions in the country. For the same reason, if you are visiting UAE for travel or whatsoever purpose and are carrying any drugs or medicines that are considered illicit in UAE, you should be extremely cognizant of it.
Foreign citizens entering UAE must carry a pre-approved certificate to carry personal medicines with them. They need to always carry valid medical prescriptions as well as the approval by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Even carrying herbal medicines is banned in the UAE even though that particular herbal medicine is legal in the country of departure of the concerned individual.
The laws are in effect for imposing harsh penalties on regular drug traffickers and offenders. They are designed in a way to tackle down the spread of illicit drugs in the country.
Amendments to the Law
Recent amendments concerning the usage of illicit drugs have significantly lowered the degree of punishment. Earlier, you could have been sentenced to four years of jail. But, with the recent changes brought upon by the amendment, it was been reduced to just two years.
Another major change that has been seen with the amendment is that now the attorney general has the power to send the offender to a rehabilitation center instead of going to court. This, however, would depend on the past history of the offender that the attorney general may come to conclusion after talking with the prosecutors and the bureaucracy.
In case of a repeated offender, the court can fine him or her AED 10,000 as well as sentence him or her for two years of jail. However, in the case of a first-time offender, the person can be sentenced to do community service or go to a rehabilitation center along with a maximum fine of AED 10,000.
Emphasis on Rehabilitation
A great aspect of the drug laws in the UAE that has been applauded by activists around the world is the emphasis it gives on the treatment of drug addicts. The clause of sentencing offenders to a rehabilitation center is a positive change that ensures the betterment of the individual, and society at large.
The laws have also been designed in a way that encourages the offenders as well as their families to turn themselves to the law. The inclusion of a rehabilitation center as a form of punishment is a blessing in disguise as it helps the drug addicts to come out of this awful circle of addiction.
Before the changes with the amendment were made, the offender could plea for exemption if he or she confessed to the law. After the changes, the offender may be exempted from any type of penalty if his or her family hands him or her to the law.
There has been a continued spread of awareness of drug usage and its harmful implication across the nation. Nationwide campaigns such as the ‘International Day against Drugs and Illicit Trafficking’ are promoted on social media and given emphasis to inform the mass about the recent changes in the law.
There are dedicated departments among the police in the country that solely deals with the eradication of drug trafficking. The police are trying hard to communicate to the people regarding the new changes. This is done with the intention of getting rid of the fear of criminal proceedings and charges that drug offenders may have.
The Punishments in accordance with the Law
The amendments that have been passed provide alternative solutions for first-time offenders.
- As per Article (43) of Federal Law no.14 of 1994, no criminal proceedings shall be implemented against people who have successfully passed the treatment program.
- Article 44 states that if a publication promotes the usage of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, then not only it shall be fined AED 50,000, but its publication license may be confiscated.
- Article 45 states that any person found trying to intoxicate another person with narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through food and beverages shall face imprisonment for up to five years. The same applies to those who make others abuse the substance without their proper knowledge.
If there is any direct intent, the imprisonment may go up to seven years. If the offender commits any further crime after intoxicating the person, he or she may get life imprisonment. In case of the death of the victim, the offender will get the death sentence.
- According to Article 59, any convicted person to whom Article 43 applies, will be subjected to periodic inspections. This includes both during the execution of the penalty as well as during the period of placement. The procedure of the said inspection is determined by the Minister of Interior.
If it is found that the offender is violating any rules and regulations, he or she will face imprisonment for not less than a year. If he or she refuses to give any required examination sample, then he or she will be fined not less than AED 10,000 and shall be sentenced to two years jail term.
- Article 61 provides absolute power to the police to resort to the usage of force and weapons for implementing the provisions of law as they deem fit. As long as it is proportionate to the purpose of use, it is considered to be just.
- Article 63 states that the offenses mentioned in Articles 39, 40, and 41 shall not be considered a precedent for rehabilitating first-time offenders.
- Article 65 states that the Federal courts shall be competent to decide on the crime punishable in accordance with Articles 48 and 49 whenever they are committed for drug trafficking, in addition to the crimes associated with them.
The government of the UAE is taking major steps to eradicate the issue of drug trafficking in the country. It is aimed at protecting the people from getting addicted and safeguarding society, at large.
Since the intricacies of the laws associated with drug trafficking are not clear, many people make major mistakes that could easily be avoided with proper legal consultation. Therefore, contact a law firm and get proper legal advice from them to learn how to move on from there the moment you get caught up with any such issue.
With proper guidance, you would be better equipped to deal with the situation and get out of it effectively.