x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Prescription drug abuse will be punished, prosecutors say

Officials warn that anyone without the proper forms from a doctor can be punished under the law.

DUBAI // Those who are abusing controlled medications identified as mind-altering substances will be tracked down and brought to justice, officials said today.

Chief Prosecutor Waleed Ali Khalifa al Fuqaie, head of Drugs Prosecution at Dubai Public Prosecution, said in a news conference this morning that the nine-member prosecution team has investigated 44 such cases so far this year.

Ten were referred to court and four resulted in convictions, he said.

“In the four cases, the defendants, a stateless, Yemeni, Iranian and an Emirati, were all handed one-year sentences each for using Tramadol,” he said.

Controlled medications are only given to people with a signed and stamped prescription from a specialized doctor. That category of drugs includes pain killers, anticholinergics and anti-depressants, Mr al Fuqaie said.

He stressed that many of those who are addicted to such substances think there will not be legal action against them because the substances are not banned.

“They are mistaken,” he said.

The prosecution does not refer any suspect before ensuring he or she does not possess a prescription, Mr al Fuqaie added. He said suppliers were mostly unemployed, and no doctors or pharmacists had been involved in any of the cases.

Last year, 752 drug related cases were referred to court, of which 281 involved consumption.