UAE anti-narcotics forces seize more than 18,000kg of drugs during 2020

The annual report said that 6,973 drug traffickers were arrested

More than 18,000 kilograms of drugs were seized and  6973 traffickers arrested last year. Courtesy: Ministry of Interior
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UAE anti-narcotics forces seized more than 18,000 kilograms of drugs last year.

Officials said there were 6,973 arrests during anti-narcotics operations in 2020.

The details were released as the UAE marks International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Last year 18,003 kilograms of drugs were seized according to statistics that indicate the great efforts made by drug forces

The campaign's slogan is: "We are committed. Drugs are a plague."

Brig Saeed Al Suwaidi, director general of the Federal Drug Control Administration at the Ministry of Interior and deputy chairman of the UAE Anti-Narcotics Council, said the ministry's efforts contributed to limiting drug supply and demand.

"Last year, 18,003 kilograms of drugs were seized, according to statistics, indicating the great efforts made by drugs forces.

“We saw a change in trends related to smuggling and promoting drugs, with online marketing of banned substances posing a challenge, which we dealt with firmly,” he said.

To tighten regulation of controlled medicine, the Ministry of Interior launched an online platform with help from the health services.

A gang was caught with 573,000 Captagon pills last year. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Police

Named the Unified Controlled Medication Platform, the system allows doctors and pharmacists to register, prescribe and dispense narcotics and controlled/semi-controlled medications.

This makes the tracking of prescriptions easier.

“The 2020 annual report issued by the ministry’s Federal Anti-Narcotics Department reflects the efforts and achievements that have been made locally and internationally," Brig Al Suwaidi said.

The ministry, which ranked top for five years in the field of information co-operation in the Arab world, helped anti-narcotics organisations to bust networks in other countries.

"Celebrating this year's anti-drug day comes in light of coronavirus, a great challenge facing all mankind, perhaps the most difficult in modern history," said Lt Gen Dhahi Tamim, deputy chief of Police and Public Security in Dubai, and chairman of the Anti-Narcotics Council.

Lt Gen Tamim said challenges that surfaced during the pandemic were treated as  opportunities by UAE drug control departments.

“Officers’ skills in discovering new smuggling methods that traffickers come up with in light of the restrictions and precautionary measures were enhanced,” he said.

The number of drug users who willingly sought rehabilitation increased last year, said Dr Hamad Al Ghafri, director general of the National Rehabilitation Centre.

“This was especially in light of flexible treatment options offered by the centre,” he said.

"Since it was founded in 2002, the centre has received 4,600 patients and helped increase the recovery rate in the UAE to 66 per cent."