Customs officers at Abu Dhabi International Airport recently stopped a man after suspecting he'd been carrying drugs into the country.

The passenger, who arrived from his home country of Pakistan to resume duty in the UAE, was caught carrying hashish in his luggage after security officers searched his bag. The man then blamed his mother for it.

According to Khaleej Times, the man claimed his mother - unaware of the UAE's laws on drug use - packed the substance in his bag.

The officers discovered a small amount of hashish wrapped inside the man's clothes. They also carried out a test on the man's urine, which came back positive.

"I have been using drugs back home and not in the UAE," the man said, according to Khaleej Times.

"She had no idea that the law here bans drugs."

Subsequently, prosecutors charged the man with drug consumption and smuggling. During the court hearing, the man admitted to the former but denied the latter.

"I learned the habit from my family members and friends back home. Consuming drugs is a common thing in my home village and many young people do drugs," he said. 

His mother was aware of his hashish habits and decided to pack some in his bag when leaving Pakistan.

"I had no idea my bag contained drugs. My mom must have put the hashish in the bag as she helped me pack as I was returning from holiday," he explained.

"She had no idea that the law here bans drugs."

The trial has been postponed until May.

Drug use in the UAE

In an article published by The National in 2014, a study revealed that drug use in the UAE has risen by 526 percent in the last 30 years.

Such a high statistic rings true, despite the fact that in 2008, the UAE was listed as the country with the "longest list of banned substances," according to The Guardian.

The list includes commonly found drugs such as anti-depressants and codeine.

Drug addiction costs the UAE 5.5 billion dirhams each year, as revealed by The National. However, in recent years, the war on drugs in the UAE has intensified. 

Police have jointly collaborated with various institutions to combat substance abuse.

In 2016, Dubai Police’s Anti-Narcotics Department launched a six-minute video titled "A Soul's Tale" on social media with the sole purpose of combating drug use.

egypt drugs
Source: Authorgry

Amended anti-drug law in UAE

In 2016, the narcotics law in the UAE was amended. The changes saw prison sentences reduced to 2 years, down from 4 years in previous years.

Judicial authorities were also given other options when dealing with drug users. This includes issuing fines to violators and sending them to rehabilitation facilities instead of imprisoning them.

Since the law came into effect, more than 100 drug users have come forward voluntarily or whose families have turned them in for help, according to The National.