Drugs abuse in the United Arab Emirates
Many aspects of life have changed rapidly since the independence of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) in 1971. The economic and social changes have catapulated people from a nomadic and isolated life into a relatively luxurious lifestyle. Many of the traditional values of the indigenous people have changed and came to be influenced by the values and attitudes of those who came to work in the U.A.E. The rapid social change has been an important factor behind the appearance of many types of anti-social behaviour, of which drug use is one. As in most countries throughout the world, illicit drug use behaviour in the U.A.E. is thriving, in terms of a rapid increase in the number of users, in the amount used and in the choice by users of more dangrous substances. Drug use behaviour has moved from a small number of isolated people in some ethnic groups to many people in many different ethnic and age groups in the U.A.E. Consequently this study examines the nature of drug abuse problems in the U.A.E. It covers many aspects of drug abuse problem and the social climate in which it flourishes. These include: the prevalence rate of drug abuse; socio-economic changes in the U.A.E. and their effects on the increase of drug abuse; the effects of society's efforts and policies in attempting to reduce drug-related problems; and the effects of drug abuse on individuals, family and society. It is found that the illegal drugs trade has become a means by which some people amass their fortune, exploiting the situation of social and security gaps in the U.A.E. The open market trade policy, a fundamental cornerstone of economic in the U.A.E., offers a fertile environment for abuses such as illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and other laws violation. The findings show that rapid social change in the U.A.E. has reduced the influence of some of the social control measures such as the effect of the family, customs and tradition. The support role of the family in the new society has changed, and has been replaced by an expatriate work force. The research findings show that the large number of expatriate workers has influenced the spread of drug abuse among people in the U.A.E. Most of the expatriate workers come from drug producing countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and India. In addition to the drug producing countries, there is public acceptance for some drug use in these countries. The cheapness of drugs in the above mentioned countries in contrast to the high prices and demand for illicit drugs in the U.A.E. encouraged some of the expatriate workers and some illegal immigrants to become involved in illicit drug activities. The findings and results of the study show that the rate of drug abuse among young men is high, especially the use of heroin which is incrasing. Drug abusers who are U.A.E. citizens are more likely to be involved in drug abuse problems. Most of them are multi-drug abusers and they spend a lot of money on their drug use. Substances such as hashish, heroin, opium and barbiturates are most common types of drugs which are on the increase in U.A.E. society. The lack of a comperhensive and unambiguous policy to combact drugs in U.A.E. society is a significant factor behind the increase in problems of drug abuse in the U.A.E. Drug policy in the U.A.E. depends mainly on individual efforts and the commitment of some government organizations. These efforts are mainly concentrated in the law enforcement agencies in the Emirates and federal legislation is not always effective or welcomed in the Emirates.