Abu Dhabi: Social media has become the latest and the most dangerous means that drug dealers use in order to spread their poison, especially among young people, say authorities in Abu Dhabi.
Authorities have warned against drug dealers exploiting social networking sites to promote their 'poison' among young people.
Here’s how it typically works: A drug dealer from outside the country sends a text message, or a video clip or a voice message, to a young person’s mobile phone in the UAE, explain authorities.
It comes with an invitation for him to deliver a package containing illegal drugs from one place to another, for a financial consideration.
And from here, the disaster begins.
The youngster may fall victim to the financial temptation, so he carries out the task and transports the parcel with narcotic substances from dealer to dealer, or from one promoter to another.
He may also fall victim to drugs himself by taking the substance sent to him without realising the seriousness of what he is committing — until he becomes addicted to the most dangerous substances. ‘Participate to Prevent It’
Recently, Abu Dhabi Police also launched ‘Participate to Prevent It’ campaign and warned the public of anonymous messages on social media promoting drugs.
The campaign urges community members to promote community solidarity, not to deal with and respond to unsolicited messages, to increase family supervision of children and to inform the competent authorities to take the necessary measures by contacting the Aman service at 8002626, by text message (2828), by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or through its smart application.
The authorities warned individuals not to believe the information presented to them about psychotropic substances on social networking sites, as it may be false or misleading.
Officials also stressed that they have all the means and capabilities to thwart the attempts of drug smuggling gangs. Medical products via internet, social media
Authorities also urged young people to avoid purchasing any medical products via the internet and social media platforms, without obtaining appropriate and approved medical advice from the specialist doctor or the competent authorities.
What the law says
Lawyer Khaled Al-Ahbabi from the office of Khaled Bin Jamhour Al-Ahbabi for Legal Consultation and Advocacy, explained to Gulf News: “In recent years, the country’s anti-drug agencies have monitored anonymous messages on social media, especially through WhatsApp, promoting certain types of drugs. “Legally, the advice I give to members of society in general, and to youth and adolescents in particular, is to completely refrain from working with these messages and to inform the relevant security authorities immediately, or at the nearest police station or the toll-free number for Aman service.”
To take the necessary measures, I also call on parents and families to monitor the unknown emails that reach their children, especially the messages sent to them from numbers outside the country, and to educate them not to interact with these messages, and to report them by calling the police,” he added.
Regarding the methods used by drug dealers, Al Ahbabi said: “E-marketing has become the fastest and easiest way for merchants to promote and sell their goods.
“In the same way, dealers of drugs and prohibited substances exploit social networking sites, especially WhatsApp … promising the ease of delivery after transferring money into the bank account of these drug dealers.” “With this simplicity and ease, these toxins reach the homes through the phones of children, adolescents, and young adults. Some may report the incident, while the majority of adolescents avoid informing the security authorities, and some of them may fall victim to these criminals,” Al Ahbabi warned.
The lawyer said that in order to avoid the risk of violating the law, you must know the legal texts that deal with these cases.
“Therefore, for those who refuse to inform the security authorities responsible for drug control, we warn that UAE law has severe penalties to be imposed in this regard.”
Jail and fine
Under Article No. 65 of Federal Decree-Law No. 30 of 2021 on Combating Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, any person who possesses, conceals or deals with money earned by dealing drugs shall be imprisoned and fined not less than Dh100,000, provided there exists enough evidence to prove the money’s links to drug dealing.
As for the penalty, lawyer Al Ahbabi said: “The penalty for publishing information on social media for drug trafficking or promotion or publishing information to facilitate illegal drug dealing, is imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh500,000 and not more than Dh1 million — or one of these two penalties.
Warning on bank accounts
“As a lawyer, I warn about the danger of opening personal bank accounts and allowing them to be managed by unknown persons, so that they are not used for other than business without the knowledge of the account holder.”
He warned against dealing with social media sites that promote illegal drugs and substances lead to drug addiction. “The centre calls on anyone who is a victim of addiction not to hesitate to contact the centre and seek treatment.”
Dr. Saif Ahmed Darwish, Principal Health Education Specialist at the National Rehabilitation Center (NRC), told Gulf News the centre is ready to take care of any cases using advanced technology in rehabilitation and treatment.
Dr. Darwish said: “Technology now aids in the treatment of addiction, including the use of smart phones, apps and programs. We use technology to create support groups, using visual communication technology and to provide documented technical resources for patients and their families.”
“Work is currently underway to develop a new program which, for the first time, will be used to remotely monitor and follow-up addiction patients. This program will enable the medical team to communicate with the patient, follow up on his vital signs while he is at home, and provide immediate medical advice,” he explained. Islamic perspective:
To understand this important issue from an Islamic perspective, Gulf News interviewed Dr. Ahmed Al Haddad, the Grand Mufti of Dubai, who said.
“Allah Almighty forbids all wickedness; and there is no doubt that drugs are among the evils.
“This has been clarified by Muslim scholars, past and present. Because drugs are evil and taboo, Islam forbids dealing with any kinds of it in any way, whether dealing, promoting, facilitating the dissemination of drugs or delivering money to the dealers of these poisons.
“Islam has prohibited drugs of all kinds — including hashish, opium, cocaine, narcotic or hallucinogenic pills, and other types of narcotics — that cause unconsciousness and affects the mind, because they contradict the rules and foundations of Sharia.”
All Muslim scholars have agreed on the prohibition of drugs of all kinds, and have issued fatwas that using them is considered a major sin and taboo — and the perpetrator deserves to be punished, in this world and the Doomsday.”
“The fatwas of Islamic scholars, everywhere, were similar emphasising the prohibition of drugs, in terms of consumption, smuggling, possession, manufacture and cultivation — because of its great harm to Islamic societies.
“(It is) the responsibility and duty of every young man and teenager to immediately inform the official government agencies and authorities of any attempt by drug traffickers to exploit him in distributing or promoting these poisons in society,” he added.
The WHO definition
The World Health Organisation defines psychotropic substances as any substance that affects mental processes, such as perception and emotion, and classifies psychotropic substances into three main categories: stimulants, depressants (narcotics), and hallucinogens.
Statistics of Hemaya International Center, in the General Department of Drug Control at Dubai Police, revealed that 576 families have responded during the past five years to the Dubai Police and its initiative to report their children involved in the trap of drug abuse, which contributed to their receiving treatment without falling under the law.
Consultation Hotline numbers
The government has confirmed the availability of medical consultations for the public using the toll-free number: 8002252
Aman service hotline: 8002626