The UAE has longstanding laws in place governing the use, production and distribution of Narcotics and Psychotropic substances, designed to protect individuals, companies, and society at large, and to prosecute those who act in contradiction to its mandates. Overall, the most recent decree number 30 of 2021 institutes key new amendments to the Federal law number 14 of 1994 on narcotic and psychotropic drugs to strengthen that resolve, while also adding provisions and advisory bodies to support treatment, monitor and regulate.

The Revised Substances Schedules within the amendments more specifically define and refine the description of narcotics and psychotropic substances as either natural or synthetic, and reinforce that their procurement, import, export, manufacture, extraction, separation, production, possession, acquisition and abuse, and other types of activities are prohibited unless for scientific or medical reasons as per guidelines of article 40.

The allowances for controlled medical applications, administration and scientific research are under the authority of the Council of Ministers on the basis of a submission by the Minister of Health and approval by the Committee defined in article 3 of this Law.

The decree also establishes specialized units to serve as rehabilitation and treatment centers with Binding Confidentiality Guidelines to maintain complete confidentiality of all information stored, prohibited by law to share any confidential information.

Increased Medical Checks under article 34 allow specialized physicians’ medical prescriptions and percentage increases only when the medical treatment so requires, within compliance, approval and percentages increase guidelines under schedule 9. For individuals, there is Increased Judicial Discretion for the courts to replace punishment of the offender with treatment, with certain provisions governing repeat offenders. The Ministry of Health and Prevention is creating these specialized units with those properly trained in handling drug addictions for the treatment of addiction and shall include rehabilitation sections.

The Penalties associated with the new decree’s amendments impose imprisonment sentences and fines. There is a minimum penalty of 3 months imprisonment or fines between AED 20,000 and 100,000 (ref : Article 34).

For repeat offenders there are higher penalties of no less than 6 months imprisonment or fines no less than AED 30,000 to 100,000. Similarly, for third time offenders, imprisonment escalates to no less than 2 years or a fine no less AED 100,000 (Ref: Article 41).

For those inducing or inciting an offence, the penalty is imprisonment for no less than 5 years and a fine of no less than AED 50,000, an increase from AED 20,000 (ref: Article 48)

For causing harm to another, the penalty is imprisonment for no less than 7 years and a fine of no less than AED 100,000, an increase from AED 20,000. In the case of serious harm, imprisonment is no less than 10 years and a fine of no less than AED 200,000, an increase from AED 20,000. If the crime results in the death of the victim, the court can impose life imprisonment or a death sentence (ref: Article 49).

For Facilitating the Sale of Drugs, the penalty is imprisonment for no less than 10 years and a fine of AED 100,000, an increase from AED 20,000 for the abuse of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances provided for in Schedules 1, 2, 4 and 5 of this Law. If for the same offence for specific narcotic drugs or psychotropic drugs provided for in Schedules 3, 6, 7 and 8 of this Law, the penalty is imprisonment for no less than 7 years and a fine of no less AED 100,000, an increase from AED 20,000. For repeat offenders, the penalty is increased to be life imprisonment and a fine of no less than AED 100,000, an increase from AED 20,000 (ref: Article 53).