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UAE courts can now refer addicts to rehab without prosecuting them

Gulf News 2019-09-17 18:40:15

Dubai: UAE nationals and expatriates can now be admitted to a government-owned drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre by Dubai Courts without the fear of prosecution, according to a new law issued on Tuesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

According to Law No (5) of 2019 regarding the Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation in Al Khawaneej, admissions can be approved by Dubai Public Prosecution, a court ruling, or upon the decision of the Attorney General of Dubai based upon the request of the attorney.

A person admitted to the centre will not be subject to prosecution, provided they hand in all drugs in their possession and follow the centre’s treatment plan.

Their duration of stay should not exceed two years, and they can be discharged by a court decision, after taking the opinion of the attorney.

In the case of a patient not following the prescribed treatment plan or being caught with drugs in their possession, the centre will consult with the judicial authority and the public prosecution will decide upon the next course of action.

The law applies to all activities of the Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation, which was established under Law No (5) of 2016 as a public entity annexed to the Executive Council of Dubai.

To oversee these changes Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, has issued an Executive Council Resolution No (22) of 2019, to appoint Abdullah Mohammad Falaknaz, Chairman and Director General of the Dubai Police Anti-Narcotics Department, as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation.

The Board is also composed of the CEO of Rashid Hospital, Abdullah Dhaen Obaid, Samirah Mohammad Al Rayes, Alia Hamad Al Marri, the CEO of Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation and a representative from the Dubai Community Development Authority and Dubai Public Prosecution. The Board serves for a renewable term of three years. This resolution will be published in the Official Gazette and can be considered effective from the date of its publication.

The Chairman of Erada Centre is tasked with issuing decisions required to implement the new law, following the approval of the board. The law replaces Law No (5) of 2016, and annuls any other text or legislation that contradicts this law. The new law is effective from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Any person admitted to the centre has the right to receive medical and psychological treatment, as well as the right to privacy and to communicate with their family and inform them about their rights and duties. All data is considered confidential, and no board member or employees can review it unless there is a written approval by virtue of an order of the Dubai Public Prosecution, a court ruling, or a request from a government entity tasked with taking care of them after their discharge from the centre.

Highlights of the new law

- Courts can admit and discharge addicts to and from rehab

- Patients will not be subject to prosecution if they abide by rules

- A patient’s duration of stay should not exceed two years

- To oversee the changes the head of Dubai Police Anti-Narcotics is now on the board

- But no board members can review case files without written approval from prosecution

What is the Erada Centre?

Erada is an independent centre committed to offering treatment and rehabilitation services to UAE nationals and expatriates suffering from drug and alcohol dependency. It also helps increase awareness in the community and contributes to scientific research on addiction. Founded in 2016, it offers a range of programmes all under one-roof in Al Khawaneej, where as well as treatment rooms and accommodation, there is also a gym, spa, leisure and grooming facilities to help addicts get their lives back on track with the help of specialists in psychology and addiction.