Drug smuggling on the rise, says police chief

Fears situation may get worse if regional turmoil continues

Growing political instability in the region is making traffickers’ job easy, warned Lt-Gen. Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, indicating a rising in smuggling of drugs and other contrabands.

Tamim made these comments while speaking at the International Hemaya Forum organised by the Dubai Police and the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes, 'Khaleej Times' reported.

Reflecting on the current turmoil in the region he said that while the security establishments are focusing on tackling protests and rebellion, criminal organisations are taking advantage and stepping up their efforts in smuggling of drugs, weapons and money laundering.

Hinting that the situation is likely to get worse if the turmoil continues, he urged the GCC security forces to raise their efforts in countering smuggling.

Suggesting measures to root out the drug menace he said that unless and until the cultivation of drugs is not stopped in countries like Afghanistan, the combating drug smuggling won’t be easy.

Indicating that the UAE is in talks with the Afghan government with regards the issue, he urged other countries in the region and across the world to help Afghan farmers replace the narcotic crops with cash crops.

He informed that the UAE is taking solid steps in combating drugs and it reflects in Shaikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Interior’s instruction to transform the Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Ministry of Interior full-fledged department, which would help unify efforts exerted by anti-drug units at the UAE level.

Speaking at the same conference, Mohammed Abdul Aziz, Director of UN Office on Drug and Crime, praised the Dubai Police Hemaya Forum and efforts taken by Tamim to protect Arab world from drug use.

According to UN reports, 210 million people use drugs worldwide and 200,000 die every year as a result of drug abuse.

“The  percentage of drug abuse among young people has dropped until the age of 12 years. According to the World Health Organization, about 7.8 million people died in 2010 due to drug abuse,” Abdul Aziz stated.

The world is witnessing a rise in the number of people infected with AIDS as a result of injecting drugs. An estimated 15.9 million people abuse drugs by injection and the number of people infected with HIV in the Middle East and North Africa reached 460,000.