UAE Observes International Day Against Drug Abuse

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates-Saturday 25 June 2016 [ AETOS Wire ]

The UAE joins the nations of the world in observing International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day that is marked every year on 26th June. A variety of events is held nationwide to mark this occasion, organized by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), represented by its key departments and police general headquarters.


The events aims to make the public aware of the dangers associated with drug use and abuse, bad company and the negative effects of experimenting with drugs for the first time. This societal approach also aims to highlight the valuable role of the family in protecting children against drug risks, by providing the proper nurturing environment, hands-on care, awareness and guidance. It is also designed to educate the public that ‘addiction is a complex disease, but treatable’ within treatment and rehabilitation centers; and that family support is an important line of defense in curbing the danger of drug abuse and guide children to safety.


The MoI urged the various segments of society to cooperate with the activities held under the ‘Cohesive Family,’ theme, using the common hashtag #CohesiveFamilies2021 to combat and reduce the risks of drugs, which contributes towards achieving a more secure and stable society.

Colonel Abdullah Mubarak bin Amer, Deputy Director General of the Sharjah Police attended the ceremony, which was organized by the MoI under the slogan ‘Cohesive Family’ in Khor Fakkan in Sharjah. Also attending were Jassem Al Naqbi, member of the Federal National Council (FNC) and Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director General, Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior.

Colonel bin Amer emphasized the UAE’s eagerness to join other nations in the fight against the scourge of drugs, which represent a threat to societies. He also highlighted the unrelenting efforts being made by the Ministry in association with the relevant authorities on local, regional and international levels to diminish drug trafficking, disable drug traffickers and pushers’ movements, and to reduce the supply and demand involved.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Interior attaches great importance to the fight against drugs. “Under the directives of the higher police leadership, the anti-drug agencies have managed to successfully fulfill their duties by providing all the necessary human, technical and material resources.” Colonel bin Amer also noted that the plans and outreach programs implemented by the Ministry have been directed at every segment of society, in a bid to promote awareness about the dangers that drugs pose to communities.

He added that the MoI’s anti-narcotic personnel are completely determined to forge ahead in confronting the scourge of narcotics and are dedicating their resources to supporting international efforts to combat these drugs. He also appealed to all civil and governmental institutions and bodies to follow a balanced, complete and comprehensive approach as the most effective means to address the drugs issue.

He expressed his thanks and gratitude to the community figures who have contributed in dealing with drugs - the partners, officers, non-commissioned officers, individuals and several segments of society, for their sacrifices in the fight against drugs.

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Tawir Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior said: "It is under the patronage of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, that we observe International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. We do so under the slogan ‘Cohesive Family,’ to promote the national initiative ‘Cohesive Family 2021,’ launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to educate families about the importance of family cohesion, which protects children from becoming drug addicts and guards against a variety of unnatural behaviors."

“Parents and guardians play an important role in protecting young people, as they are the ones who lay the foundations for building their child’s personality; they are the ones who determine the path of righteousness and goodness for their children; and they are the ones who joyfully see their children grow and transition from childhood to adolescence and then into youth. Parents provide them with care and attention, keep them from veering from the right path and provide the blueprint for bright future for them,” Al Suwaidi added. He also called upon children to uphold the values and principles of Islam, follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and avoid bad company.

He addressed young people and said: “Beware of thoughtless experiences, because tomorrow you will swap roles and become fathers and mothers, you will be worried about your children just as your parents were worried about you, and you will protect them just as they protected you.”

In his speech, FNC member Jasim Al Naqbi praised the role of the MoI and its work in consolidating security and stability in the state through its comprehensive security strategy, which is supported by the wise leaders, who believe that stability and security are among the most important pillars of any state’s developmental process.

“The public awareness campaigns undertaken throughout the year in various areas by the MoI are based on the directives of HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and have played an active role. These campaigns have had a positive impact on promoting awareness among community members, mainly the campaigns dedicated to protecting the family from falling prey to the clutches of various toxins and drugs,” he said. He also called to combine community efforts in the state, be they governmental, civil or private, to contribute to curbing the negative effects of drugs.

Dr. Hatem Aly, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative and head of the sub-regional office for the GCC, expressed his thanks to the MoI for organizing the ceremony. He clarified that their participation in the ceremony falls within the strategic goals of their office of helping state members in their fight against drugs; to implement the best international practices; and to promote cooperation between all members in the fight against drugs.

He detailed several statistics that revealed the volume and risk levels of drug abuse; its negative impact on individuals and societies; the resulting direct and indirect deaths; and the devastating effects on individuals and societies.

Colonel bin Amer and Colonel Al Suwaidi both opened the exhibition, held simultaneously with other events celebrating the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Many departments against drug abuse were part of the exhibition, which included an exhibition of children’s drawings about the dangerous effects of drug abuse. A cultural competition was held also during the ceremony that included questions for the public – with the winners awarded gifts and prizes. The exhibition also included the showing of awareness movies about the risks of drugs and photos of previous seizures that illustrate the MoI’s efforts in the fight against drugs.

At the end of the ceremony, Colonel bin Amer and Colonel Al Suwaidi honored the partners from local and federal institutions and bodies.

Staff 1

Updating the List of Narcotic Substances and Setting up an Electronic System to Organize their Dispensation

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior said that the Ministry, represented by the General Department of Anti-Narcotics and the Anti-Narcotics Departments in the General Directorates of the Police, is monitoring any updates in the types of drug abuse and any other abuse of new narcotic substances in the state. This monitoring is done through daily field seizures implemented by the relevant departments and reports drafted by its anti-narcotic personnel.

He added that the MoI is taking part in the Project ION (International Operations on NPS), run by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Through this initiative, more than 120 officers from around the world communicate together to report on any new substances that are caught or detected in any state and they exchange information on the chemical composition of these substances. This direct communication takes place through an electronic system.

He underlined that the MoI discusses and studies these substances through its membership in the Higher Narcotic Drug Review Committee, headed by the Ministry of Health and Prevention. These substances are studied and all available legal measures are then taken to criminalize them. The most recent updates for these lists are dated 22/12/2015, when 157 narcotic and psychotropic substances, as well as three types of narcotic medicinal plants, were listed in the appended table of the Anti-Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law. These substances were forbidden and their abuse and distribution were criminalized.

The Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the MoI, mentioned that the Ministry has realized through statistical analysis of drugs crimes that medical drugs are the most circulated among drug addicts, since 51% of overall cases were caught using and promoting these substances.

He added that the MoI has worked along with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Dubai Police General Headquarters to develop an electronic system to organize the dispensing of medical drugs by hospitals and medical clinics, so as to reduce the number of abuse addicts, and also to control its dispensation by doctors to ensure they are provided only for medical purposes, in accordance with international health standards and charters. The first stage of the system was launched in 2015 in a number of emirates and is currently being assessed and developed to encompass all emirates.

Staff 2

‘Fighter’ Service Receives 9,989 Electronic Calls

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi said that the MoI aims to provide awareness services electronically about the effects of drugs, available by calling the ‘Fighter’ service on 80044, in line with the governmental approach to convert traditional services into electronic services. This service was launched in mid-2015.

The service provides a number of awareness emails, such as the effects of drugs depending on the type, and ways of identifying cases of drug abuse in the family environment by recognizing the person’s look and behavior. It also provides an electronic test - ‘Is My Son a Drug Addict?’-  which allows the caller to assess the state of any family member by answering a number of questions electronically. The system then assesses the case and provides a gauge of the likelihood.

The service is considered a platform for the public and listens to any information or suggestions they have. Between its launch in June 2015, to the end of May 2016, the service has received 9,989 electronic calls. The service can be reached by calling the free number 80044 or by sending an SMS to 2244.


Box out 3

Creating a National Council, an Observatory and a Special Drug Fighting Award

The Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior pointed out that Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has directed the set-up of the National Anti-Narcotics Council, headed by HE Lt. General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of the Dubai Police and General Security. The Council is comprised of three national higher committees, namely the National Higher Committee for Combating Drugs, the National Higher Committee for Treatment, Rehabilitation and Social Integration, and the National Higher Committee for the Fight against Drug Trafficking.

The committees affiliated to the Council are composed of the various ministries, agencies and institutions and form a strong anti-drug triangle. They assume a vital role in curbing the drug problem within the institutions and bodies responsible at official ports, borders and coasts. They are the main line of defense in reducing drug trafficking to the country.

It is noteworthy that the MoI carries out its role in the fight against drugs through the seizing and confiscating drugs smuggled into the country, through these ports. The Ministry also prevents the exploitation of the country in the production of any kind of narcotic substances and arrests the perpetrators and brings them to justice.

Commenting further, Colonel Al Suwaidi said that drug crimes change over time. “We are witnessing new patterns of drug use, as well as sophisticated and innovative methods to traffic, conceal and smuggle drugs,” he said. He also underlined the MoI’s commitment to monitor these variables by setting up a national observatory affiliated to the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate, in February. The observatory monitors all phenomena, changes and developments in drug crimes and works on analyzing them and developing appropriate schemes to combat them. “The observatory also integrates the plans developed as part of the anti-drug strategy,” he explained.

The Observatory avails of all the data available at the MoI and various other relevant bodies and institutions concerning drug offenses and their geographic and demographic nature. It achieves this by strengthening the partnership with those bodies, as part of a shared responsibility.

By the same token, Colonel Al Suwaidi stressed that the drug problem is a worldwide issue. “Fighting the scourge of drugs at an individual level happens in vain, as the responsibility to fight drugs is no longer limited to a specific body. The anti-drug triangle will not achieve the desired results except within the framework of continuous cooperation and coordination in formulating and implementing the anti-drugs strategy,” he stated. He also noted that this strategy deals with two aspects, reducing the opportunity of drug supply and curbing the demand.  “This strategy is implemented through a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach, based on international treaties and conventions, which are the cornerstones of developing anti-drugs strategies and policies. These policies include the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem; as well as the document issued by the United Nations General Assembly in April 2016 entitled ‘Our Joint Commitment to Effectively Addressing and Countering the World Drug Problem' – a common commitment to tackling the world drug problem and addressing it effectively.”

In the same vein, the Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior declared that the Ministry has introduced the UAE Anti-Drugs Award. “The National Anti-Narcotics Council will develop the full concept of the Awards before launching it nationwide. It aims to build momentum and encourage all government and community sectors, as well as individuals to actively participate in the fight against drugs and support efforts related to this aim,” said Colonel Al Suwaidi.

Text Box 4

Fighting Against Online Drug-Trafficking

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, the Director General of the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior made the point that the Ministry realized years ago that there is a new player on the drug trafficking and smuggling scene - the online trafficker. “The online trafficker exploits the Internet in drug-trafficking,” explained Colonel Al Suwaidi. The Ministry has established a special section for online drug-trafficking, recruiting qualified university graduates to fight against this type of crime. Moreover, the Ministry has established a plan to develop the section and support it with electronic smart programs that contribute to detecting the websites and social networking accounts used in drug-trafficking, whether they are actually trafficking through selling drugs, or spreading the intellectual trafficking of drug use by disseminating falsehoods and misconceptions that encourage drug abuse.

The section combats these sites by blocking and preventing them, in close coordination with the General Authority for Regulating the Telecommunications Sector if the facility is located within the UAE or run from abroad. The information collected on these facilities is exchanged with the relevant counterpart bodies. The number of such sites that have been blocked during the last three years has amounted to more than 171 websites. However, if it is found that these websites or the people running them are operating within the country, the Ministry resorts to the plan based on the Fight Against Cyber Crimes Law and the Law on Combating Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances to detect these individuals and take legal action against them.

The Success of the Fight Plans

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi noted that the Abusers Index is one of the most important indicators reflecting the success levels of the awareness programs and campaigns in the fight against drugs. “These programs aim to reduce engagement in drug use,” he explained. The statistics for recent years show that the citizens’ Abusers Index has dropped for the first time by 7% and 8% in 2014 and 2015, compared to 2013. As a result of doubling field control efforts, the index for apprehending drug dealers and traffickers has increased by 9% and 15% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Moreover, Colonel Al Suwaidi pointed out that 4,113 suspects in drug offenses were arrested; 1,191kg of narcotic substances and 152,911,289 psychotropic pills were confiscated in 2015.

At the international level, information released by the Emirati Ministry of Interior to counterparts in 53 countries over the last three years has led to the foiling of 240 international drug-trafficking operations and the confiscation of more than 24 tons of various narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Foiling 22 Drug Smuggling Attempts within Three Months of this Year

Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi indicated that the Anti-Narcotics Federal General Directorate has managed to thwart 22 drug smuggling attempts over the past three months (April-June). “The Directorate reacted based on tip-offs from its sources, and in collaboration with the anti-narcotics departments and sections in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah,” pointed out Al Suwaidi. Furthermore, he indicated that these operations resulted in the arrest of 58 suspects of different nationalities, as well as the confiscation of 15.6 kg of narcotic substances and 69.24 psychotropic substance-based pills.

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The Arabic-language text of this announcement is the official, authoritative version. Translations are provided as an accommodation only, and should be cross-referenced with the Arabic-language text, which is the only version of the text intended to have legal effect.


The UAE Minister of Interior's General Secretariat, Tactical Affairs and Security Media Department 

Abu Dhabi Police GHQ - Security Media

Chris Cron +971-(0)-50-666-4891










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UAE Observes International Day Against Drug Abuse (Photo: ME NewsWire)

UAE Observes International Day Against Drug Abuse (Photo: ME NewsWire)

UAE Observes International Day Against Drug Abuse (Photo: ME NewsWire)

UAE Observes International Day Against Drug Abuse (Photo: ME NewsWire)

  One of the narcotics and drugs gangs captured by the police.  (Photo: ME NewsWire)

One of the narcotics and drugs gangs captured by the police. (Photo: ME NewsWire)

Some of the drugs seized by the anti-narcotic staff at the Ministry of Interior (Photo: ME NewsWire)

Some of the drugs seized by the anti-narcotic staff at the Ministry of Interior (Photo: ME NewsWire)

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