Posted on July 29, 2015

Qatar is considering a crackdown on drug dealers who sell to adolescents, according to local press, said Arabian Business. The Gulf state wants to impose harsher punishments on dealers to curb drug use among school and college students, an official told Arabic daily Al Sharq.

Amr Aly Al Hemeidy, assistant director of the Ministry of Interior’s narcotics department, was quoted as saying the most dangerous drugs used by addicts in Qatar are cocaine, heroine and morphine. Other common drugs are tramadol, captagon and Lyrica, he said. According to a report in Doha News, current penalties for drug use and dealing range from jail time to the death penalty, as well as fines of up to QR500,000 ($137,000).

Al Hemeidy was reported to have stated that drug abuse has a negative effect on families, and called on residents to cooperate with authorities to create a “drug free” society. His department is working with other ministries to run awareness raising campaigns in schools to highlight the dangers of drug use to students, parents and teachers, and advise on prevention. If Qatar introduces tougher penalties it would be the latest a series of moves to clamp down on drug dealing in the country. In June, it was reported that the customs department had foiled 317 attempts to smuggle drugs into the country in 2014.

And the government has installed new devices at Hamad International Airport to detect drug smugglers.