Muscat: Drug smuggling cases has declined significantly in Oman, a top official said.
According to 2016 figures, drug smuggling cases dropped by 14 per cent.
Col, Abdu Al Raheem Al Farsi, Director General for Combating Drugs and Psychotropic Substances at the Royal Oman Police (ROP), said that Oman had introduced several measure to curb drug smuggling.
“Taking stringent legal actions, intensifying patrolling, building more facilities and installing cutting-edge devices to detect drugs, have helped reduce drug smuggling cases,” he said.
He didn’t give further details about the exact number of drug smuggling cases in 2016.
Al Farsi said the drug related crimes also declined. Around 2,538 such crimes were recorded last year and 3,590 accused were arrested, he said.
The number of drug abuse cases dropped by 50 per cent in 2016. The number of drug addicts in Oman stood at 4,000 in 2016, compared to 5,000 in 2015.
The majority of drug addicts are teenagers, including college and school students.
Oman has been conducting intensive campaigns nationwide targeting the youth, the largest segment of drug users, he further said.
In January, an attempt to smuggle 2.8 million captagon pills was foiled by the ROP at Sohar port.
The pills were found concealed in pipes used for tanning leather.
The smuggling attempt was believed to be linked to a previous attempt in November and the same suspects were believed to be involved.
In November, Oman police arrested members of an international drug ring for attempting to smuggle six million captagon pills to a “neighbouring country”, without providing further details. A total of six million captagon pills were seized.
Oman set up more than 12 rehabilitation centres in all governorates due to the increase in drug abuse in the country.
The number of drug addicts have doubled from 2000 in 2010 to 4,000 in 2016.
Oman spends more than 70 million riyals to treat drug addicts nationwide, according to the Ministry of Health figures.
Oman’s geography, with its long coastline and proximity to some drug exporting countries, poses a major challenge in combating drug trafficking, according to Al Farsi.