Due to the UAE’s strategic location, policies and free zones, the nation is a thriving commercial hub. This country should take pride in the way it has become both a marketplace of goods and services as well as a marketplace of ideas.
But not all the influences that arrive on the UAE’s shores are positive. Yesterday’s revelation of the seizure of 100kg of the stimulant Captogan, an amphetamine commonly used as a recreational drug, came only weeks after customs officials confiscated 16kg of heroin at Dubai International Airport. The Ministry of Interior’s department of anti-narcotics has said that drug related crimes have risen significantly due to the increase in population and in the transit of people and goods through the country.
These recent discoveries and other high profile arrests such as the jailing of a British DJ last year for possession of cannabis illustrate how seriously the Government takes the threat. This no nonsense approach is commendable. No amount of investment in narcotic control is big enough. Drug use may be an individual crime but it has tremendous social costs. Crack-cocaine ravaged American cities in the 1980s and a dependence on the flowering plant khat, chewed by 80 per cent of Yemen’s adult population for its stimulative effects, has been widely attributed as a cause of that nation’s unemployment and poverty levels.
The UAE’s large population of young people, particularly those living outside the cities, have a limited amount of entertainment outlets and drugs all too often become an insidious escape route from boredom. The authorities must continue their vigilant approach, but through education and the creation of more extra-curricular options for youth, the false appeal of drug use can be diminished.
Dubai Customs’s ability to locate the Captogan stash in 152 industrial sized spools of thread through a study of their density is a testament to the effectiveness of their technology and their thoroughness. But drug smugglers will still attempt to flout the law. Strategies for education and rehabilitation are needed to help further reduce the risks that drugs pose to society.
Source: TheNational digital edition Feb. 2009