UAE 4th country to include spice drugs in drugs legislation

UAE, January 10, 2016 – The Higher Narcotic Drug Review Committee at the Quality Control and Research Laboratory of the Ministry of Health held its fourth meeting at the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech). The meeting was headed by Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licenses and Chairman of the Committee, and aimed to provide reviews and recommendations for pharmaceutical ingredients. The committee was created under Ministerial Decree No. 888 issued by the Ministry and is composed of the Ministry of Interior, General Department of Anti Narcotic, Dubai Police Force, Sharjah Police Headquarters, Federal Customs Authority, Dubai Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice, Dubai Courts, and the National Rehabilitation Center.

The Committee’s Achievements: The UAE is 4th country in the world to include spice drugs in the law 

Dr. Al Amiri noted the crucial role the Committee plays in raising standards within the UAE. He also emphasized the Committee’s steadfast commitment towards protecting the community from the harmful impact of drugs by assigning specialized laboratories developed by anti-drug forces to review the ingredients of drugs being circulated and screen it for Ketamine, Tramadol and hemp. At the moment, 500 types of drugs spices have been included in the drug legislation.

He also added that the Committee has obtained approval from the Ministerial Cabinet to add substances including herbal drugs that have become primary targets for the Anti-Narcotics Department. Al Amiri noted that the UAE’s efforts to address these substances have set a standard for other countries in the region and has showcased the great strides the local government has made in this field. 

Adding Amphetamine substance:

Dr. Al Amiri discussed the spread of amphetamine substances, which rank 6th in the table of Drugs Act No. 14 of 1995. He shared that surveillance was dispatched to monitor suspicious activities that may lead to evidence of the country being used as a transit area for bath salt. He added that severe punishment will be administered to drug traffickers who risk the safety and security of the people of the UAE.

The electronic system of prescription and dispensing of controlled substances:

Dr. Al Amiri talked about the launch and implementation of an electronic system developed to prescribe and dispense monitored and semi-monitored narcotic drugs in the UAE. He said that the system will greatly help the monitoring efforts to ensure that individuals that harm the well-being of the community will be brought to justice. The Ministry is steadfast in its commitment towards monitoring pharmaceutical drugs being prescribed by doctors, and enforcing strict regulations on the misrepresentation of certain drugs among youths who have been found to be seeking drugs in certain clinics and could potentially misuse the drug and lead to an overdose. He added that the Committee will start its operations in other emirates to spread the monitoring process across the country and ensure the health and security of the citizens.

A new mechanism for continuous communication among the competent authorities:

During the meeting, the participants agreed on the need to establish stronger communication channels with relevant agencies and organizations to facilitate a more effective exchange of knowledge and expertise. They also discussed the national initiatives being developed in the pipeline, particularly the national survey project to measure the prevalence of psychotropic drugs and the geo-informational analysis system, which was designed by the National Rehabilitation Centre in Abu Dhabi. The meeting also highlighted the UAE’s commitment in fulfilling its international responsibilities, as the country has pledged its support for international conventions on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as reflected by an official partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for the Container Control Program.

Dr. Al Amiri pointed out that the anti-drug campaign is part of initiatives and programs under the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health. These campaigns are an essential component of national efforts to protect the community from exposure to manufactured drugs, narcotic materials and psychotropic substances, which could lead to serious health consequences, economic burdens, loss of productivity, and addiction. A database and a comprehensive analysis system will also be developed and implemented to address the abuse of narcotic drugs.

Monitoring and follow-up websites:

Dr. Al Amiri explained that a major challenge being faced by governments around the world is addressing the demand for pharmaceutical drugs while safeguarding the community against misuse and proliferation. He noted that e-promotions and electronic pharmacies are considered risks by many governments and that strict controls are being applied to these organizations to ensure that all transactions are being monitored by the relevant health organizations of each country. He said that the electronic trading of drugs is often exploited to promote other narcotic substances for non-medical and therapeutic purposes, and that the challenge lies in enforcing the proper documentation and import and export of these products.

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