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THE DRUG ADDICT INCARCERATION AT THE ADDICTION TREATMENT UNIT
IT’S CONDITIONS & LEGAL PROCEDURES
The drugs’ cases are considered one of the most important cases which the Emirati legislator cared for, and one of the most serious cases, and this is a result for its disastrous consequences which target the society as a whole and lead to its corrosion from inside. The Emirati legislator balanced between the drug addict as a criminal must be punished and being a patient must be cared for to get rid of his addiction. The principle which the legislator is keen to apply is that the human being errs and deserves another chance, even the punishment the legislator decides aims at rehabilitating the offender and his integration into society. According to law, the criminal case cannot be filed against the drug addict if he applies to the Addiction Treatment Unit, Public Prosecution or Police requesting his treatment at the Unit, as per Article (43) of the Federal Law number (8) of 2016 which states that:
No criminal proceedings shall be instituted against any abuser of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances who voluntarily presents himself, or presented by spouse or a relative until the second degree, either to the Addiction Treatment Unit, the Public Prosecution or the Police, requesting treatment. The person must remain in the Unit until the Committee decides on his or her release.
Not instituting the criminal case against the drug addict means that law dealt with him as a patient who needs treatment and rehabilitation until full recovery. To show good faith, law demands that the addict must present himself to the Addiction Treatment Unit or the Public Prosecution requesting treatment in the Unit, and it is the start of the right way as he will stay until his full recovery. Caring for the addict that could be in some cases in an advanced stage of addiction makes him unaware for his illness and addiction, law accepts the application for the drug addict treatment from his relatives until the second degree.
Not instituting the criminal case is conditional on the addict adherence to some conditions which prove his good faith and true will to leave the drugs’ way, and the conditions include, in addition to the addict applying to treatment in the Unit, his adherence to the treatment plan, and this is confirmed in the third paragraph of Article (43) which states:
Whoever the Unit decides his nonadherence to the adopted treatment plan shall not benefit from provision of paragraph (1) of the Article.
Another stipulation is required for not instituting the criminal case against the drug addict that he must hand over the drugs possessed to the Police, the Public Prosecution or the Addiction Treatment Unit, as paragraph five of Article (43) states that:
The provision of this article, however, shall not apply to anyone who possessed a narcotic drug which he did not hand over to the Unit or the Public Prosecution when he presented himself for treatment.
What is stated upon in the aforementioned paragraph is the least that could be requested from the drug addict, how the drug addict who acknowledges his addiction can adhere to a treatment plan in the Addiction Treatment Unit and in the same time possesses drugs.
Law has determined period of treatment and rehabilitation for the drug addict as maximum two years, and he is supposed to recover during this period from his addiction, and this depends on his will and adherence to the treatment plan, as the fourth paragraph of Article (43) states that:
The duration of treatment and rehabilitation may not exceed two
Moreover, the legislator allows the court to replace the punishment of abusing drugs represented in imprisonment and fine by incarceration at the Addiction Treatment Unit, after having opinion of the supervising committee, as the first paragraph of Article 42 states that:
1- In cases other than recidivism, the court, instead of deciding on the penalties prescribed in Articles (39) and (40 paragraph 1), may rule with any of the following:
A- Order the confinement of the offender to one of the Addiction Treatment Units referred to in article 4 of this Law.
B- Order the confinement of the offender to one of the Rehabilitation Units referred to in article 4 of this Law.
Replacing the punishment represented in imprisonment and fine by incarcerating the offender at the Addiction Treatment Unit or at a rehabilitation center is stipulated basically by the phrase ” In cases other than recidivism” means that the drug addict is not an ex-convict in the drugs crimes, and it is the first time he is prosecuted for the drug abuse. The court, after incarcerating the offender at the Addiction Treatment Unit or the rehabilitation center, watches his position periodically, and this is confirmed by the second paragraph of Article (42) which states:
The confinement to the treatment units and the rehabilitation centers shall be after consulting the Treatment Supervision Committee, and it shall submit to the court every six months, or whenever requested, a report on the situation of the convict.
In case the drug addict confined to the Addiction Treatment Unit violates any of the periodical examination rules and procedures, law determined a penalty for that, that is imprisonment as per paragraph four of the Article (59 bis 1) which states:
Whoever violates the periodical examination rules and procedures sentenced under the Ministry of Interior resolution shall be imprisoned for a period not less than a year.
The drug addict must stay at the Addiction Treatment Unit for a period less than two years, and he may be released from the Unit in two cases, determined by Article (42) in the third paragraph which states:
The court orders, after consulting the Public Prosecution, with releasing the convict from the Unit or from the rehabilitation center in the following two cases:
A- If his health condition allows this.
B- Upon his request and approval of the Supervising Committee.
This means that the drug addict release from the Addiction Treatment Unit is based on the Unit report which indicates his recovery, or upon his request if the Supervising Committee agrees.
It is noteworthy that law allows the Public Prosecutor to refer the drug addict to the Addiction Treatment Unit and this results in not instituting the criminal case against the drug addict, according to Article (43 bis) which states:
The Public Prosecutor may refer to the Unit any offender in the drugs abuse or psychotropic substances offences, upon report of the enforcement body or the Prosecutor, and the criminal cases shall not be instituted against whoever finishes the treatment.
The legislator has determined precisely the legal mechanism for dealing with the drug user, as it facilitated ways for treatment from addiction if he really desires in that, and at the same time the drug addict cannot place himself at the Addiction Treatment Unit to evade punishment as treatment is executed under supervision and close follow-up from the competent judicial and health authorities.