x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Anti-drug theme for Friday sermons

Friday sermons at Dubai mosques are to include an anti-drug mesage as part of a campaign launched by the city's police.

DUBAI // Friday sermons at the city's mosques will include an anti-drug message starting this week as part of a campaign launched yesterday by Dubai Police. Imams will warn about the effects of illegal drugs and encourage families to steer their loved ones away from them. The six-month campaign will include dramatic television productions, posters and SMS messages, said Major Gen Abdul Jalil Mahdi, director of the Dubai Police anti-narcotics division.

The awareness initiative comes as Dubai tries to tackle a dramatic rise in drug-related cases. Last year saw a 39 per cent increase in narcotic arrests over 2008, while registered cases rose by a fifth. In 2009 there were 1,021 arrests in 653 drug cases involving 233kg of seized narcotics, compared with 734 arrests in 542 cases with 158kg of narcotics seized the previous year. As the campaign was announced, the task faced by officers was exemplified at the Criminal Court of First Instance, where two men were charged with attempting to sell almost 30,000 diazepam pills. Commonly sold under the trademark Valium, diazepam is commonly used for treating anxiety and related maladies. It has also been found in adulterated heroin.

The men allegedly possessed almost 5kg of the controlled drug and were caught by a sting operation when they tried to sell it to undercover police officers in Deira. BM, 28, and QI, 18, who were arrested last August, denied the charges in court yesterday. Prosecutors say undercover officers met the defendants near the Dubai Creek and found they were carrying a large plastic bag containing 30 smaller bags filled with blue pills. The bags allegedly contained 29,640 of the pills.

The defendants will appear in court again on January 24. Email:amustafa@thenational.ae