x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Rise in juvenile addicts in the UAE prompts drug tests

Juveniles will be required to undergo drug tests before admission to social instruction centre.

A rise in the number of juveniles involved in drug cases is prompting officials to integrate a drug test in the existing health examination that young offenders undertake before admission in social instruction centres, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced yesterday.

These drug tests, which will become standard procedure across the UAE by the end of October, will determine whether juveniles will have to first undergo a rehabilitation programme to cure their addiction, before being admitted to one of the ministry's five juvenile centres, according to the Arabic-language daily Al Ittihad, the sister paper of The National.

"The ministry is currently working on a new medical examination form, in which juveniles will undergo a drug test in addition to the current screenings of infectious diseases," a source from the ministry said.

The ministry attributed the new measure to the rising number of young delinquents - drug users or dealers - who turn out to be addicts. Over the past three years, 72 juveniles have been charged with using psychotropic substances, according to ministry officials.

"Seven per cent of juveniles referred to the ministry's social instruction centres are accused in drug-related cases, with 30 juveniles out of the 439 admitted since the beginning of the year being charged in drug-related cases," the ministry said in a report.