Dubai: Abuse of drugs and psychotropic substances in the UAE can land you in jail for not less than two years, along with a fine of Dh10,000. This was the message that the UAE’s Public Prosecution shared with the public, to discourage drug use in the UAE, especially among young individuals.
Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 criminalises production, import, export, transport, buying, selling, possessing, storing of narcotic and psychotropic substances unless done so as part of supervised and regulated medical or scientific activities in accordance with the applicable laws.
In an awareness message posted on its social media channels, the UAE’s Public Prosecution reminded individuals that it is prohibited to abuse or personally use any narcotic or psychotropic drugs, in any way whatsoever, other than for medical treatment, which should be done and under a medical prescription from the treating physician.
Any individual found abusing substances stated in schedules 1,2,4 and 5 of Federal Law No. 14 of 1995 shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than two years. The court may, in addition to this punishment, impose a fine not less than Dh10,000.
Article 40 of the same law provides that a penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than six months and no more than two years shall be imposed on anyone abusing any substance stated in Schedules 3,6,7 and 8 attached to the Law. The court may, in addition to this penalty, impose a fine of not less than Dh10,000.
Further, Article 41 of the said law states that a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year shall be imposed on anyone abusing or personally using substances or plants that induce narcosis (stupor or drowsiness induced by drugs) or any other harmful effect to the mind when abused with such an intention.
Rehabilitation support for drug addiction
The UAE has a zero tolerance policy for recreational use of drugs. However, support for individuals suffering from addiction is also provided and families are encouraged to seek help. The laws have also been designed to encourage victims of addiction from volunteering for treatment.
No criminal proceedings shall be instituted against any abuser of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances who voluntarily presents himself either to the Addiction Treatment Unit referred to in Article 4 or to the Public Prosecution, requesting treatment. The person must remain in the Unit until the Committee referred to in Article 4 decides on his or her release. The duration of treatment and rehabilitation may not extend three years. The provision of this article, however, shall not apply to anyone who possessed a narcotic drug, which he did not hand over to the Unit or the Public Prosecution when he presented himself for treatment.
In an interview with Gulf News in 2019, Colonel Abdulla Hassan Matar Al Khayat, Director of Hemaya International Centre – Dubai Police’s Community Support Centre, told families: “Don’t be afraid to come to us. And do not be in denial. If your child has a drug problem, get it treated. We are here to help you.”