Image Credit: Dubai Police

Dubai: The police are faced with new challenges in their battle against drugs as 70 new ones have been identified in recent years, a top Dubai Police official said.

Speaking at the 14th edition of the Hemaya International Forum and Exhibition on drug issues in Dubai on Sunday, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said, “There are 70 new substances and this is a challenge. Our aim is to reach students in schools and in their houses to educate them. We trained about 900 students from different nationalities to become ambassadors to their classmates to raise their awareness about the danger of drug use,” Maj Gen Al Merri said.

He said that the forum was very important for the Dubai Police to exchange expertise between different countries.

“This forum is an umbrella for all police departments from around the world to discuss and find recommendations to fight illegal drugs,” Maj Gen Al Merri added.

This year, the Hemaya International Forum featured a comprehensive agenda and is expected to attract over 1,500 participants from all over the world. As many as 22 local and international expert speakers are offering their insights on a number of trending topics in 15 scientific sessions and seven specialised workshops to highlight the issues and challenges related to combating drug abuse and addiction.

App launched

Dubai Police launched the Hemaya smart application to raise awareness about drugs and its devastating effects.

Colonel Abdullah Al Khayyat, Manager of Hemaya International Centre at Dubai Police, said the application is a digital platform that employs Artificial Intelligence to answer all questions related to the dangers of drug abuse.

“It can also help in detecting drug addicts and shows the locations of rehabilitation centres, in addition to highlighting the role of the family and parents in raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and providing specialised consultations to them,” Col Al Khayyat said.

The application also includes a number of electronic services that can help the UAE community. They include Amna, a highly intelligent chatbot for all inquiries about drug awareness.

The application also provides channels to report a drug dealer or ask for help, as well as answer all drug-related inquiries by children and parents.

More than 5,000 people downloaded the application within the first three hours of launch.

Hemaya International Forum is annually organised by Dubai Police and INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions — a member of INDEX Holding in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).