criminal law


October 10, 2011



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Source: Expat Echo - Drugs and the Law

Know your Rights: 5 laws that expats should know.

  1. The consumption of illegal drugs in the UAE is a criminal offense, punishable by possible imprisonment n. Drugs that are legal in your home country may not necessarily be legal in the UAE, this could include drugs that you have been prescribed for medical reasons in your home country.

  2. If a foreigner has been convicted of a crime related to drugs in the UAE, the court has the discretion to order his deportation out of the country. The law states that the ruling to deport the foreigner is permissible if the foreigner is convicted of the crimes of addiction, personal use, possession or acquisition with intent to addiction.

  3. The import, bringing, possessing or transport of illegal drugs into the UAE is a criminal offense. However, if certain specified narcotics and psychotropic substances or products that contain such substances are brought into the country with the intent of personal consumption, it may not be treated as a criminal offense if it is first seized at the entry points of the country. In this case, the authorities will undertake to seize such substances or products and destroy them to prevent their leakage into the country.

  4. Some medications are illegal in the UAE if possessed without a prescription from a doctor. In the UAE, pharmacies may not dispense any narcotics or psychotropic substances except under a medical prescription from a physician who is licensed to practice the medical profession.

  5. It should also be noted that using narcotic or psychotropic substances for personal use could result in imprisonment and fines. However, if the convict is a first-time offender, then the competent court may replace imprisonment and fines with the transfer of the convict to a rehabilitation unit.

New update:

The UAE has issued federal decree number 30 of 2021(issued on 16 Sep 2021) which institutes key new amendments to the Federal law number 14 of 1994 on narcotic and psychotropic drugs. The procurement, import, export, manufacture, extraction, separation, production, possession, acquisition and abuse of ‘narcotic drugs’ and ‘psychotropic substances’ indicated in Schedules to the law is prohibited. The UAE practices zero tolerance in matters of drugs abuse, thereby , the penalty imposed on any person facilitates the sale of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances provided for in Schedules 1, 2, 4 and 5, annexed to this Law shall be imprisonment for a period a period not less than ten years and a fine of not less one hundred thousand (earlier twenty thousand dirhams). The penalty shall be increased to be life imprisonment and a fine of not less than one hundred thousand (earlier twenty thousand dirhams) in the event of repeated offense (Article 5)

Reference: Federal decree number 30 of 2021 amending the Federal law number 14 of 1994 on narcotic and psychotropic drugs.

Issue Date: 16 Sep 2021

To read more on the” What you should know about the new drugs law in the UAE?”, please follow this link:

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