Bahrain tops region in drug-related deaths
Manama, March 6, 2012
Bahrain has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in the Arabian Peninsula, according to a United Nations (UN) report.
The latest International Narcotics Control Board 2011 report states that although the prevalence of opiates remains low in the region, heroin is the most common opiate abused.
It states that Bahrain's rate of drug-related deaths, 44.3 recorded for every one million people, is the highest on the peninsula.
This is 10 times higher than the UAE, which has the lowest rate of drug-related deaths - with 4.6 recorded per million people.
The report also states that countries in the region continue to be prime markets for drug traffickers peddling amphetamines such as counterfeit Captagon tablets, particularly Saudi Arabia.
In 2010, the volume of amphetamines seized in the Middle East reached 10 tonnes.
Eight tonnes were seized in Saudi Arabia, down from 13 tonnes in the previous year, while 1.5 tonnes were seized in Syria.
"Saudi Arabia accounted for 80 per cent of the total weight seized, followed by Syria (15 per cent)," it stated.
"In 2010, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait (in ascending order) reported seizures of quantities ranging between 9kg and 267kg."
The International Narcotics Control Board expressed its concern over the illicit manufacture of amphetamines in the Middle East, but pointed out that steps were being taken to control drug trafficking.
It reported an agreement signed by the interior ministers of Bahrain and the UAE last May to promote security co-operation in many areas, including drug control.
Meanwhile, the UN report said Jordan and Syria were the main countries of origin for seized amphetamines, while Saudi Arabia was the main country of destination.
It states that Captagon tablets were mostly detected in vehicles or in freight consignments.
"In Saudi Arabia, the first clandestine laboratory for illicit manufacture of Captagon tablets was dismantled in June 2010," it said.
The report also highlights the proliferation of drug treatment programmes in the region.
"Programmes for the treatment and prevention of drug abuse, as well as for raising awareness about the risks of drug abuse by injection, are increasing in number in the Middle East," it says. – TradeArabia News Service