Efforts to combat drug abuse intensify due to increasing number of abusers in the country
Muscat: For the first time, Oman may introduce the death penalty against drug traffickers in an effort to curb the drug menace that affects many youths.
The decision highlights the increased threat that drug crimes pose on society, since Oman halted the death penalty in 2004.
Under the new Combating Narcotics and Pyschotropic Law, 10 out of the 72 articles, introduce stiff penalties for drug peddlers.
Article 43 of the amended law introduces the death penalty or life sentences for dealers and fines of up to OMR 25,000. It also stipulates the death penalty for anyone who has a connection with international gangs for drug trafficking.
Article 56 says anyone who assaults a drug enforcement officer can face up to ten years in prison and will be fined up to OMR 3,000. A life sentence could be implemented if the assault permanently disables the officer and a death sentence can be issued if the officer is killed.
The new law will be raised soon to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos for final approval.
Observers say that such a stiffening of punishments will help to decrease the number of drug cases in Oman.
Ahmad Al Hinai, a social worker, told Gulf News that introducing that will be a deterrent for drug dealers and will think twice before committing such crime.
Regarding the drug cases among Omani youth, Al Hinai said that there is an increase in the number of young Omani women who drug addicts, compared to the past five years.
A governmental source told Gulf News that the number of drug cases increases more than ten per cent every year.
The government is building more rehab centres across the country to accommodate the rising number of drug cases. Milions of Omani riyals have been spent in treating drug abusers in the the country.
Oman’s long coastline and proximity to drug producing countries poses a big challenge to the country. An official with the Royal Oman Police told Gulf News that the majority of those arrested for drug related offenses are expatriates.
Heroin is the number one drug seized by the ROP.
Source: Gulf News, April 22, 2015
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