Dubai: The war on drugs had an unprecedented success in 2017 during which anti-narcotic police officers in the UAE seized six times the quantity of drugs seized in 2016, said a top cop on Tuesday.

Speaking at a law-enforcement event in Dubai to mark International Anti-Narcotics Day, Lt-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, deputy chairman of Police and Public Security in Dubai, urged parents to become a major defensive line in combating drugs by looking after their teenage children.

“Parents in the Arab world have a big distance from their children. Parents should know with whom their teenage children go around and where they spend their time. We are in an ongoing war with drug dealers as they target our youth,” Lt-Gen Khalfan Tamim said.

As much as 62 tonnes of narcotic substances were seized in the UAE last year, an increase of 538 per cent from 2016 when officers seized nearly 10 tonnes of drugs.

The latest statistics of the Interior Ministry revealed that 6,440 drug suspects were arrested last year compared to 5,130 in 2016.

Lt-Gen Khalfan Tamim lauded authorities for making a major headway in their fight against the contraband drugs being smuggled into the country.

Lt-Gen Khalfan Tamim has been leading an aggressive fight against illicit drugs in the UAE since he was named by Lt-General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the chairman of the Council for Combating Drugs in March 2016, tasked with stepping up the nation’s crackdown on drugs.

“Every year, a select number of inmates in jails are given pardon during religious occasions. We shouldn’t pardon any drug dealer or addict before they finish their jail time. I urge the authorities to not include a drug addict on the list of inmates to be pardoned for the second time. If we have pardoned a person once, then he shouldn’t be pardoned the second time. He should spend his jail sentence as punishment,” he said.

Ministry to launch UAE prize in combating drugs

Brigadier Saeed Abdullah Bin Tuwair Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Federal Anti-Narcotics General Directorate, said the ministry will launch a new reward programme titled ‘UAE Prize in Combating Drugs’, the first of its kind in the region.

“Fighting drugs is a national duty and all government and private entities should have steps in place to fight drugs. This prize will encourage our partners to play a major role in fighting drugs,” Brig Al Suwaidi said.

The prize will have 10 categories including best practices, enhancing partnerships, fighting drugs, customs, precautionary measures, schools and universities that present projects, suggestions for combating drugs, and contributions of media.

The Ministry of Interior will receive the submissions for the prize till February 2019 and the winners will be announced subsequently.

Emiratis and expatriates living in the UAE can participate.