Dubai Customs inspectors foiled 126 attempts to smuggle a total of 23.5 kilograms of the prohibited Synthetic Cannabinoids, known as Spice narcotic, in Dubai Cargo Village, Dubai Airport Free Zone International and Emirates Post within the first eight months of this year. The impact of this drug is far greater than traditional drugs, and causes serious damage to the central nervous system.
The "Spice" narcotic is considered to be one of the latest types of drugs that arepromoted through websites and sold toteenagers and youngsters as a substance that allegedly helps improve the mood. This narcotic is known among the young as “manufactured hashish”
which often comes in the form of dark herbs, causing serious damage to human health and safety and may in some cases lead to death, based on incidents recorded in the United States. This substance may also lead to delirium, hallucination, confusion, laughter, abnormal behavior, fits of convulsions, and inability to estimate distances.
The substance belongs to the category “Synthetic Cannabinoids” or the “Cannabimimetics”, which includes around 200 items, where some were produced for pharmaceutical researches in the beginning of the 80s in order to discover the relation between the chemical composition of the drugs and receptor activity of the brain. The rest has been prepared in the pharmaceutical factories and universities as a substance for scientific research, and then found their way to the laboratories in China and Europe, where they were promoted as an alternative to cannabis. The use of these alternatives can lead to the damage of the central nervous system, especially the brain, resulting in a decline in the respiratory system, leading to death in the worst cases.
Ahmed Abdullah Bin Lahej, Senior Manager of Air Shipping Operations, said that all quantities of Spice substance seized by Dubai Customs within the past eight months arrived as parcels of different sizes and from some foreign and Arab countries where the use of this substance is common among teenagers and youngsters, especially during the festive seasons. Easy online offering of this substance as well as it availability in small bags that resemble the tea bags andcontain few grams increases the spread of this narcotic in various countries around the world.
He also explained that the quantities seized have been brought to the state and some other quantities arrived in the UAE only to be sent to other countries through transit. Most of the quantities were in the form of dark brown herbs smuggled in different yet professional ways to mislead the Customs inspectors. Bin Lahej also pointed out that the parcels were addressed to young men, and one of them was even addressed to a 9-year- old Arab child.
Ahmed Bin Lahej also underlined that the efficiency and accumulated expertise of Customs inspectors as well as the training courses they take, have helped them detect the parcels and prevent the smuggling of narcotics into the country. Inspectors undergo specialized training programs in all fields including the identification of narcotics and their characteristics, in terms of form, color or smell, as well as the methods of inspection of different materials and shipments. Inspectors are also provided with the latest devices and equipment that help them accomplish their duties, since the customs are the first line of defense, security and safety in the community. All these elements played a great role in enhancing the inspectors’ ability to discover and seize the “Spice” substance and other narcotics in the past months regardless of the relentless efforts of drug dealers and consumers to smuggle them into the country in misleading and devious ways, whether in small or large quantities. Amounts seized ranged between 2 grams and 5 kilograms during the first eight months of 2012.
Bin Lahej added that Dubai Customs has exertedintensive efforts to track websites that promote drugs and narcotics and, in coordination coordinated with concerned agencies, some of these illicit websites have been blocked, pointing out that the seized quantities are referred to concerned bodies to continue the investigation and take necessary action which has led to the arrest of several smugglers engaged in these activities.
In line with the efforts to combat the spread of illicit substances among teenagers and the young, Dubai Customs call on parents to keep an eye out on their children and contact with concerned agencies when they are apprehensive about potential existence of such suspicious folded bags and their dealers.
Such efforts would contribute immensely to enhancing the public agencies’ partnership and their cooperation with the society, that falls within the corporate social responsibility, in combating and curbing the spread of harmful phenomena and safeguarding the society from their negative consequences.
The UAE has recently included the Spice narcotic in Schedule of the Federal Narcotics Law, as an illicit substance whose dealers and consumers are subject to penalty due to its serious damaging impact on the central nervous system, and the ease of obtaining and using it as a substitute for hashish.