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Narcotic Cases | UAE Penal Code Crimes

Sick or criminal – Drug abusers in United Arab Emirates

Sick or criminal – Drug abusers in United Arab Emirates Drug abuse is defined as the use and consumption of narcotic substances that improve mood and WhatsApp: +971555570005

 

Sick or criminal….?
Drug abusers in UAE

 

Drug abuse is defined as the use and consumption of narcotic substances that improve mood and increase physical activity. The abuser uses it to obtain pleasure, temporary happiness and escape from reality. When the effect of this substance goes away, withdrawal symptoms appear in the abuser forcing him to ask for the drug again, where it occurs to him a kind of psychological and physical habituation and these symptoms only go away when abusing the drug, again, but with increased doses.

The drug addiction is associated with many health problems in the heart, nerves and brain, as well as psychological problems such as mental disorder, anxiety and depression, and it may reach to the point of suicide, and addict needs a long-term treatment in drug addiction unit , and some studies tend to distinguish between drug abusers and addicts depending on the difference Between the two cases in terms of health and treatment and the effects of each case, as the abuser does not need a long treatment period because of the small amounts and short period in which the drugs is used .

From a legal point of view, UAE legislators have enacted several legislations that deal with the danger of this scourge. The legislator has strictly banned narcotics and psychotropic substances and banned all aspects of related activity, except in a narrow and exclusively limited scope within legitimate purposes of medical and therapeutic uses and scientific research. , And stressed through his legislation his keenness to fight this crime not only as an outrageous individual act, but as a national issue whose negative effects will not stop at any point on various levels such as health, economic and social levels.

In the fourth chapter of the Narcotics Act, under the section of penalties, the legislator specified precisely the punishment for planting, bringing, transporting, importing, exporting and producing narcotic substances. As for dealing with narcotics, the first question that may come to mind is whether the legislator treated the drug abuser as a criminal that should be punished? Or a sick who needs medical, therapeutic and rehabilitation assistance.

In the beginning, the legislator mentioned the punishment of drug abuse in three articles in the law, articles (39), (40) and (41), which defines the punishment of anyone who has abused or acquired with the intent to abuse or abused personally the narcotic substances. Each one of these articles is concerned with a class of narcotic substance.
Article (39) defines the penalty for abuse of narcotic substances listed in schedules (1) (2) (4) and (5) to imprisonment for a minimum of two years and an authorization to impose a fine of at least ten thousand dirhams, which states :

“The penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than two years ,shall be imposed on everyone who has abused ,in any way whatsoever ,or personally used ,in circumstances other those authorized ,any of the narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances specified in schedules 1,2,3,4,and 5 annexed to this law”.

The court in addition to the preceding penalty, may impose a fine of not less than ten thousand dirhams.

Article (40) specified for the punishment of the use of narcotic substances contained in schedules no. (3) (6) (7) (8) which is imprisonment for a term of not less than six months and not more than two years. Which states the following:

“The penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than six months but not exceeding two years shall be imposed on anyone who has abused , in any way whatsoever ,or personally used , in circumstances other than those authorized , any of the narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances specified in schedules 3,6,7 and 8 annexed to this law”

The court in addition to the preceding penalty, may impose a fine of not less than ten thousand dirhams.

Article (41) sets the penalty for the use of any substance or narcotic plant other than narcotic substances contained in the schedules annexed to the law, which is imprisonment for a period of not more than one year, as stated in the article:

” The penalty of imprisonment for a term of not less than one year shall be imposed on anyone who has abused, in any way whatsoever, or personally used any narcotic drug or plant or psychotropic substance other than those specified in the Schedules annexed to this Law, which is conducive to narcosis or any other harmful effect to the mind, when abused with such an intention”.

when comparing articles(39) and (40), we notice that the legislator has made the penalty for narcotic substance abuse in Schedules (3) (6) (7) and (8) both imprisonment and fines less than in the penalty for narcotic substance abuse contained in Schedules (1) (2) (4) (5), and since the legislator works on the proportionality of the crime and penalty, the crime of abuse in Article (40) is less than the crime of abuse in Article (39) and for the record the substances in Schedules (6) (7) and (8) were authorized by the legislator to possess them for legitimate medical and therapeutic purposes, after obtaining the necessary licenses.

And the assessment that the legislator is aware to the possibility that the abuse in this case is the result of the abuser knowledge of his illness and awareness of the problem, and evidenced by this stated in the second clause of Article (40), which stated:

“If the acts provided for in clause (1) were committed for the purpose of treatment and if the substances abused or personally used by the offender were of those substances which may be taken or used in accordance with a medical prescription, the penalty shall be a fine of not less than one thousand dirhams but not exceeding ten thousand dirhams”.

This paragraph explains how the legislator commuted the penalty if the offender abused the narcotic substances for treatment purposes, limited to the penalty to fine and abolished the penalty of imprisonment.

The perpetrator’s abuse of narcotic substances contained in this article, although it is not permissible and illegal, but it necessitated commutation of the penalty in accordance with the legislator’s view who considered with clemency in this case as a patient. As evidenced by the third clause of the same article which equaled the penalty of substance abuse in the same article with the penalty of taking drug doses containing narcotic substances more than described in the prescription, as follows:

“The offender shall be punished with the same penalty in the preceding paragraph if the prescribed doses are used more than described in the prescription.”

The only solution to the drug addict is to openly acknowledge his problem, accept the idea that he is sick and need therapeutic and rehabilitation, and have the real will to return to the right path, and cooperate with the authorities that encouraged him to take the initiative towards a solution.

One of the encouraging measures adopted by the law in favor of drug abusers is Article 43, which states:

“no criminal proceedings shall be instituted against any abuser of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances who voluntarily presents himself or his spouse or a relative of the second degree to the addiction treatment unit, the Public Prosecutor’s Office or the police, the applicant shall be brought to the unit for treatment, and shall be held until the unit decides to release him”.

The failure of criminal proceedings against drug abusers means that the law dealt with him on the basis that he is sick and that he needs treatment and rehabilitation until his full recovery. In order to show good faith, the law demanded that the abuser apply to the addiction treatment unit or the Public Prosecutor’s Office for admission to the addiction treatment unit. Which Is the beginning of the right way where he will stay a for period of time to be treated until his full recovery, and in the interest of the abuser himself, who may in some cases have reached an advanced stage of addiction that made him unaware of his illness and addiction, the law accepted that the application request may be submitted by any of the drug abuser’s relatives up to the second degree .

Therefore ,the understandable and reasonable manner in which the law dealt with drug abusers , obliged the abuser to meet with certain conditions that confirms his good will to quit abusing , and the conditions also include in addition to the abuser’s application for placement with addiction treatment unit, including his commitment to the treatment plan as confirmed by the third clause of article (43) which stated :

“no one shall benefit from the first clause decision if the unit decided that he did not abide by the prescribed treatment plan “

Another condition required for not prosecuting the drug abuser that he delivers the drug he obtains to the police ,public prosecutor’s office or addiction treatment unit ,as the fifth clause of article (43) stated :

“The provisions of this article ,however ,shall not apply to anyone who possessed a narcotic drug which he did not hand over to the unit or the public prosecution when he presented himself for treatment “

What is mentioned in the aforementioned paragraph is the least that can be requested from the abuser ,so how can an addict of narcotics who has admitted his mistake and problem adhere to a treatment plan in the addiction treatment unit and at the same time keep the narcotic substances . The law has limited the duration of treatment and rehabilitation for drug abusers to a maximum of two years , and he is supposed to recover from his addiction during this period ,depending on his will and commitment to the treatment plan as the fourth clause of article (43) stated :

“In all cases, the duration of treatment ,rehabilitation must not exceed two years “.

Moreover ,if the abuser did not apply to the addiction treatment unit ,the law considered that the problem of drug abuse falls on the community before it falls on the abuser himself , so the legislator has made it possible for the court to replace the penalty of drug abuse which is imprisonment and fine , by placing the abuser in addiction treatment unit ,after taking its supervisory committee opinion. As clause one of article (42) stated :

1. In cases other than recidivism the court instead of deciding on the penalties prescribed in article (39) and (40) first clause of this law may order the following :

A. Confinement of the offender to one of the addiction treatment unit referred to in article (4) of this law .

B. Confinement of the offender to one of the rehabilitation centers referred to in article (4) of this law .

The replacement of the penalty of the imprisonment and fine by placing the offender in an addiction treatment unit or one of the rehabilitation centers is conditional with one basic condition referred to by the legislator as “in the case of the recidivism “ meaning that the drug abuser is not one of those who have history with drug crimes , but it’s his first time to be prosecuted for abusing .

After the offender is placed in addiction treatment unit or rehabilitation center ,the court monitors his situation periodically as confirmed by the second clause of article (42) which stated :

A. The confinement in addiction treatment units and rehabilitation centers shall be after having consulted the treatment supervision committee ,and this committee must report to the court every six months or if requested a report on the situation of the convict .

The abuser stays in addiction treatment unit for less than two years and can be released in two cases identified by article (42) clause three which stated :

After consulting the public prosecutor’s office the court may order the release of the convict from the unit or the rehabilitation center in the following cases :

A. If it’s found from the report that the situation of the convict so allows .

B. After having the approval of the treatment supervision committee .

The release of the abuser from the addiction treatment unit is based in the report of the unit which refers to his recovery or by his request after the approval of the treatment supervision committee .

The third case in which the legislator considered the drug abusers as patients whose condition require treatment , and this is what stated in article (43) which stated :

“The public prosecutor may refer to the unit those who consider their referral of accused in the crimes of abuse of narcotic crimes or psychotropic substances ,based on the report of competent control authority or head of the prosecution ,and criminal prosecution shall not be imposed on those who pass the treatment program .

After all the articles we have provided , we can note the high responsibility shown by the legislator towards drug issues and addiction and the care that he gave to the abuser . Based on the legislator’s keenness principle which is that the human being make mistakes and deserves another chance , and the penalty approved by the legislator aimed at rehabilitating the offender and integrating him into society , and we can also not that the legislator in the drug law did not start its articles by specifying the penalties but article (4) came at forefront of this law , which stipulated the establishment specialized units to treat drugs and rehabilitate the addicts ,which states :

“The ministry of health and prevention establishes specialized units for the treatment ,care and rehabilitation of addicts to narcotic substances and psychotropic substances , and council of minister based on the offer of the ministry of health and prevention ,issues regulations governing the work of these units ,and local authorities to establish similar units “ .

If we want to answer the question we asked at the beginning of this article , which is did the legislator treat the drug abusers as criminals should be punished ? , or is he sick and in need of medical ,therapeutic and rehabilitation assistance?

We can answer explicitly that the law treated him as a patient who deserves treatment ,but the legislator who treated him kindly with drug abuse did not lack the wisdom and strength to aggravate the penalty on the abuser himself if he abuse again ,even the law carried other consequences for the abuser as penalty for repeating the offence of abuse .as article (59) states :

“Conviction of more than once of an offence involving the abuse of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances shall entail that the convict should not be licensed to drive motor vehicles or that such a license ,if issued should be revoked. This effect ends one year after the expiry of his sentence “

The legislator also approved additional penalties for those who sentence more than one of the offences stipulated in this law, as stated in article 58 :

“Any person who has previously been convicted more than once of an offence provided for in this Law may be sentenced by the court, in addition to the prescribed penalty, to any of the following measures:

Restriction of domicile to a particular place;

I. Prohibition of dwelling in a particular place.

II. Obligation to reside in the home country.

III. Prohibition of frequenting particular places or locations.

IV. Deprivation of the right to practise a particular occupation or profession.

The duration of the sentence measure may not be less than one year and not more than five years.

In the event that the sentenced person violates the measure imposed by the court, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than three months and not more than one year.
The bottom line is that the law stands with drug abusers as a patient or as a victim who deserves treatment and rehabilitation as a member of society ,but the same law is a deterrent against the abuser if he refuses to go back to the right path and insists on continuing the path of drugs .

 

Mohamed Mahmoud Al Marzooqi law firm

Attorney / Mohamed Al Marzooqi
Mohamed Al Marzooqi advocates & Consultancy
Lawyer in Abu Dhabi, Dubai – UAE

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Sick or criminal – Drug abusers in United Arab Emirates Drug abuse is defined as the use and consumption of narcotic substances that improve mood and WhatsApp: +971555570005
Sick or criminal – Drug abusers in United Arab Emirates

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