The largest sector of the legislative reforms in the UAE is the anti-narcotics law and UAE has now issued some amendments to this law considering the history of the country. Federal Law no. 14 of 1194 has been changed by the new Federal Decree Law no. 33 which took place in 2021. It now combines narcotics as well as psychotropic substances to have a greater effect on the illness and this will be carried out from January 2 in the year 2022. Some other changes have formulated the new drug law and these things include rehabilitation of first-time drug abusers, there will be an option for ex-pats through conviction as well as will have strict penalties on serial dealers.  

Some laws have also changed in other parts of the country such as Abu Dhabi. The Jurisdiction of Abu Dhabi has been hearing extensive chases on the promotion of drugs which is excluded from drug trafficking ignoring where the crime occurs within the country. The country’s laws have been one of the best which is why it is now being changed after a long period of 50 years. 40 laws will be changed in the biggest legislative reform of the country and this was announced on Saturday by the UAE Government.

The new outlook of the country’s drug law 

Now, there is a much better and more comprehensive approach to the use of narcotics in different sectors which was said the DDR associates lawyer. They further added that “It takes into account justice, public health, security and family relations.” Our associate’s lawyer said that family problems, criminal justice as well as public health will all be combined when it comes to knowing the ideology behind the legislation. They need a good source of coordination as well.

Moreover, the new amendments give a goof and a first-time gift for drug users to get treatment for using personal narcotics by maintaining a good hold on all of the different types of drug promotions, and sales as well as having a strict and tough penalty. It also brought in a positive review of the country as our lawyer said that now drug consumption is being seen as a serious disease that needs attention and the right set of treatment rather than being a crime.

The treatment offered to first-time drug users 

One of the major changes in the law of the country is that anyone caught under the abuse of drugs will not be offered a punishment but rather a treatment course that will help the drug user to put a halt on his or her possession. This will be implemented from January when the jurisdiction will send the offenders into high rehabilitation centers where they will be getting treatment which will be placed across the country so that they can also serve their jail time. 

However, it should be kept in mind that this law is only applicable to those who have been caught under drug substances for the first time. The New drug law is under the supervision of first-time drug offenders rather than the ones who have been caught before. They will be punished as well as those who are seen to be using drugs within 6 months by getting a medical report from the medical committee. Moreover, under the law, the offender’s rehabilitation time should not go above one year time. The law also stated that the rehabilitation centers are going to have complete confidentiality and not invade the privacy of the offenders.

The positive benefits of enrolling in a drug rehabilitation center 

Having drug users enrolled in rehabilitation centers will give them a wide awakening about society and they will be able to blend in more such as having sports and vocational training as well as social integration programs said our lawyer. The way how the drug user will be released will be done under the basis of 2 circumstances. The first one is if the medical report comes back positive and claims that the offender is perfect to leave and if the supervisory committee approves the appraisal of the offender to leave. 

The New drug law promotes a better way of specialized treatment by placing rehabilitation centers to do their job accurately. They have also set up a committee to have a pure in-depth look at how the rehabilitation centers are working to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Moreover, the local health authorities are also joined with similar units for better security and knowledge reasons. The cabinet will also release some regulations which will help overlook the treatment units in a better and more positive way so that no mishaps are occurring in the rehabilitation centers. 

Moreover,  it should also be taken into account that if the supervisory committee reports any crime persecuted by the offender then the court has full right to sentence the drug user to jail as the time will be looked on the crime he or she committed. The time frame that the offender spends in the rehab center will be reduced from the jail time overall as well. 

Strict penalties for serial offenders 

The new offenders who have been caught the first time will have their punishment switched with the treatment of drug abuse however, after that they will be facing tougher penalties which will be issued when they are seen using drugs again. The punishment will be given accordingly by looking at the degree to which the crime has been done such as looking at the amount in possession and time usage. The first-time convicts will have a 3-month prison time with a fine which will be about Dhs 20,000. It will not be less than this amount and it will not exceed Dhs 100,000 either. 

However, this can be replaced by looking at the treatment according to what the court decides. Moreover, when someone repeats the crime within the first 3 years of the first conviction, that offender can either be placed in jail for 6 months or a fine which will not be less than Dhs 30,000 and less than Dhs 100,000. Our associate lawyer added that “first- and second-time offenders will face either a fine or imprisonment but in the third-time violation, they will be subject to both jail and fine.”

The fines for the distribution of drug use 

For initiating and inducing drugs as well as providing others with the sales of drugs will have a fine that starts from Dhs 20,000. However, the new drug law now states that there will be imprisonment as well as 5 years and the fine will be increased to Dhs 50,000 on anyone who is seen as a distributor of narcotics. If the crime is done in a public area, in a public gathering, in educational or sports institutes, or places of worship or involves a female, juvenile, someone under the influence of alcohol, or a person of determination then the crime will be taken as an aggravating circumstance. 

Moreover, if the crime is done and it harmed the victim, then the offender will face 7 years of prison which is the minimum requirement, and also a fine of Dhs 100,000. If any evidence is found on the basis that there was serious harm then the minimum years of imprisonment from 7 years change to 10 and the fine will be Dhs 200,000. However, if the crime results in the death of the victim then the offender will have to go through the death penalty or life imprisonment. 

Those who plan everything such as setup places for drug dealing and other sorts of elements will face 7 or 10 years in jail depending on the substance as well as will be fined Dhs 100,000. If this is repeated then it will result in lifetime imprisonment with also a fine of a minimum of Dhs 100,000.

Deportation of expats 

The new drug law abolishes the previous crucial deportation of ex-pats who were convicted of drug abuse as well as for possession for personal use or giving it to someone else. This has now been given to the court for it to decide. They also have the right to speculate on the food that is bought by tourists and other items as well because they can be mixed up with narcotics. Hence, while entering the country, all of these things will be checked. While looking at article 96, items as such will be taken away and will be destroyed by the relevant authorities. 

Therapeutic use 

The law now makes it clear for all physicians to provide a request to the specialized medical authority before increasing the dosage of any medicine which mainly contains narcotics or any psychotropic substances only if the patient needs it. Moreover, they are also allowed to give authentic prescriptions of psychotropic substances as well as narcotics if the patient has a severe condition and is required to do so. This will also depend on the physician’s specialization with the compliance of the percentages in the decree. 

Therefore, by looking at article 59, the new decree is that any person who is licensed to carry substances is mentioned in the breaches which will have a purpose of use. They will be subjected to a minimum of 5 years in prison and a low-level fine of Dhs 100,000. If the holder is using the substance for marketing or trading then the offender will face life imprisonment and a fine of more than Dhs 100,000 not exceeding the Dhs 200,000 limit and if repeated then that offender will be offered a death sentence.