x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Smart card scheme aims to curb rising addiction

Dubai police are pushing hard to reduce the abuse of prescription medicines.

DUBAI // A new smart card is aimed at preventing young people from becoming hooked on prescription drugs.

Addiction to medicines is becoming more widespread among youth in Dubai, police say.

Maj Gen Abdel Jalil Mehdi, the director of the police anti-drugs department, said the Ministry of Health would launch a health card that records prescriptions of addictive medicine to control the amount distributed.

"When this card starts to be in use, we will be able to better control the flow of such drugs across the Emirates - something that is necessary to protect young people from this addiction," he said.

At the moment, a patient can go to several medical centres and have medicines prescribed each time in different emirates.

"We submitted this proposal to the Ministry of Health and they approved it and are working on the technical side of the project," said Maj Gen Mehdi.

Although addiction to traditional drugs such as heroin and hashish has reduced drastically, misuse of prescribed drugs such as the painkiller Tramadol is increasing, especially among schoolchildren and university students, Maj Gen Mehdi said.

In the first six months of this year, more than 41,000 pills have been seized by Dubai Police.

wissa@thenational.ae