There is no flexibility when it comes to drug-related offences in the UAE, and they could lead to punishments as high as deportation from the country. According to the new federal law on narcotics, Federal Decree-Law No. 30 of 2021 On Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances and its amendments, activities including procurement, import, export, manufacture, extraction, acquisition and possession of drugs and narcotic substances as mentioned in the schedules attached to the law are absolutely prohibited. Repetitive offenders may be subject to harsher penalties.
Offenders, when caught with drugs or other similar substances in the country, are required to go through certain medical tests in order to confirm whether they have been consuming drugs or not. The warrant for the same will be issued by the Public Prosecution, in the furtherance of which the relevant authorities will conduct the tests.
What will happen if I do not want to give sample for a drug test?
Refusal to provide samples for drug tests, without an unjustifiable reason, will lead to imprisonment of at least 2 years, and a hefty fine of minimum 100,000 dirhams. This is in confirmation with Article 63 of the Law on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances.
For instance, if you are afraid that on giving the sample, there is a chance that you might be convicted for the offence of illegal consumption of drugs, it will not be considered as a justifiable reason to abstain from giving the sample, and consequently, you will be held under Article 63 of the Law. As to what amounts to an unjustifiable reason to abstain from giving a sample is difficult to outline, and it depends on a case-to-case basis.
If you are traveling to the UAE, and have been prescribed certain medicines from your home country which contain quantities of drugs prohibited in the UAE, you can mention the same to the authorities. You will be required to produce a valid medical report in order to confirm that taking such medicine is necessary for your health. Accordingly, you may be exempted from any penalty.
Officials under the Law on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances should not be prevented from implementing its provisions by anyone. As per Article 61, assaulting, or even resisting the authorities from carrying out any duty stipulated under this law could lead to imprisonment of a minimum of 5 years, and a fine not less than 100,000 dirhams. If it results in beating or injury to the official, the punishment would increase to imprisonment of minimum 7 years, and fine not less than 200,000 dirhams. Therefore, it is always advisable to cooperate with the authorities while they carry out their duty.
The UAE has a zero-tolerance policy towards recreational use of drugs, as well as for trafficking narcotics and substances of similar nature, and in order to evade unnecessary penalties, it is better to avoid indulging in drugs and drug-related activities, for personal safety as well as to maintain public order.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.