Take a closer look at UAE's drug laws and penalities

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Anandi Katiyar

Published on August 19, 2023, 16:46:11


UAE clear stance regarding drugs substance abuse

The UAE is clear on their stance regarding drugs and substance abuse. They have enacted harsh penalties and punishments for those found guilty of drug-related offences. As per Article 11 of the Narcotics and Psychotropic Law, the use of drugs is only for research by a competent authority which includes Government hospitals, institutes, medical pharmacies, and warehouses involved in the storage. The penalties for violating the UAE's severe drug regulations are separated according to the substances listed in the various schedules.

 The Narcotic and Psychotropic Law categorise drug-related offences such as drug trafficking and smuggling as felonies. Federal Decree Law No. 30 of 2021 in the UAE has a zero-tolerance policy on narcotic and psychotropic substances but adopts a rehabilitation strategy rather than a punishment-based one. This enables the Court with the discretion to send such offenders to rehabilitation centres in an attempt to reintegrate them into society and prevent further instances. However, rehabilitation is applicable for first-time offenders only after the submitting the medical evaluation by a  medical authority designated within six months of the conviction.

First-time drug offenders are subjected to three months of imprisonment, as opposed to the minimum two-year term imprisonment, and a fine ranging from AED 20,000 to AED 100,000. In the case of repeat offenders who have been found guilty within three years of their first conviction will face increased term imprisonment of a minimum of six months and a fine of between AED 30,000 and AED 100,000. Third-time offenders will face a sentence of a minimum of two years and a fine of at least AED 200,000.

The Decree-law also vests in the Court the discretion to deport foreign nationals convicted of drug-related offences as opposed to the mandatory deportation required as per the Federal Law No 13 of 1995.

The UAE’s policy has adopted a more rehabilitation-based approach. The penalties on trafficking of narcotic drugs and substances have become even stricter to maintain security and welfare.

 For any legal queries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971526443004