Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior, officially inaugurated the Regional Conference on New Synthetic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances on Tuesday.
The two-day conference is organized by the Ministry of Interior in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Abu Dhabi and is held at the Abu Dhabi Hilton Hotel. A cohort of specialists, academics and experts in combating drugs from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other Arab countries are taking part in the conference, in addition to UN representatives.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Dr. Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing; Judge Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC’s representative and head of the sub-regional office for the GCC; Brigadier Mohammed Ghadir Al Ketbi, Deputy Director General of the Federal Criminal Police at the Ministry of Interior; Colonel Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, Head of the Forensic Evidence Department; and Colonel Saeed Abdullah Al Suwaidi, Director General, Anti-Narcotics Federal Directorate General at the Ministry of Interior; along with Heads of Anti-Narcotics Departments in the UAE, representatives of 10 GCC and Arab countries, and a number of MoI officers.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Lt. General Al Sha’far welcomed the attendees and extended the greetings of Lt. General H.H Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, as well as his sincere wishes of success for all.
He also welcomed the attending experts, specialists and academics from sisterly and friend countries, who will contribute their expertise and best practices required to tackle the important issues of new synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances. They will work on unifying efforts and strengthening mutual cooperation in drugs control and fight.
Lt. General Al Sha’far emphasized the commitment of the UAE to fighting drugs and is constantly following up with developments in this field. “The UAE is also dedicated to providing the necessary human, technical and material resources to support the anti-narcotics authorities in the UAE as they endeavor to carry out their obligations in the fight against this dangerous scourge,” he noted.
Adding further, Lt. General Al Sha’far said: “Hosting this conference in the UAE reflects the vision and aspirations of the higher leadership to lead the UAE towards becoming one of the best countries in the world in terms of safety and security. It also reflects the world’s confidence in the prominent level attained by our country in organizing international scientific conferences.”
He also explained that the MoI is keen on establishing effective partnerships, and to enhancing coordination and communication with the international community in the fight against drugs.
He said: “Combating the drug scourge is not an individual responsibility; it is a social collective responsibility that requires concerted efforts and resources to prevent this alarming affliction with all means and strategies in order to achieve security and safety for future generations and communities.”
Additionally, Lt. General Al Sha’far noted that the UAE is exerting considerable and determined efforts to eradicate drugs and the various types of crime, which represents multi-faceted risks at the various social, economic and security levels.
He also pointed out that the conference complements the police leadership’s keen interest to achieve further interaction and communication with experts and other competent authorities in the local, regional and international security and safety fields.
“The police leadership endeavors to make good use of other countries’ experiences in early detection of new synthetic drugs and the latest tools adopted to combat them,’ he continued.
In conclusion, Lt. General Al Sha’far praised the valuable contributions made by speakers and participants, as well as their constructive ideas aimed at submitting appropriate solutions and recommendations in support of the global fight against drugs. He also extended his heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the conference organizers and all participants and wished them the best of luck and success; praying Almighty Allah to bless the UAE with safety and security.
In his address on the occasion, Judge Dr. Hatem Aly, UNODC’s representative and head of the sub-regional office for the GCC, expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation for the Ministry of Interior’s officials for hosting this regional Conference. “This valuable conference plays an important role in discussing an alarming problem that undermines the security and stability of the peoples and governments of the region. The existing partnership with the Ministry of Interior has provided us with the opportunity to join efforts in order to organize this conference; and to exchange expertise with the experienced regional professionals and experts to develop an effective mechanism for the control of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and chemicals used in the manufacture of these drugs,” said Dr. Aly.
Moreover, he commended UNODC’s relentless efforts to connect the various anti-narcotics entities with the world organization’s early warning advisory system on new psychoactive substances (NPS) and its database, which provides information about the chemical structure of these drugs. “This would contribute to exchanging information and promoting mutual cooperation between all countries in the fight against the drug scourge,” he said.
Following the opening ceremony speeches, the Conference’s started with an overview of the developments witnessed by the synthetic drugs market, presented by Martin Raithelhuber, from UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section (LSS) at the Research and Trend Analysis Branch (RAB).
For his part, Dr. Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practicesand Licensing, submitted a paper on the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Health in the UAE to address the alarming problem of new synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances.
On the same note, Lt. Sulaiman Al Naqbi and Dr. Abdul Hadi from the Forensic Evidence Department at Abu Dhabi Police submitted a paper on the role of the Forensic Evidence Department in understanding the synthetic drugs issue. Another paper submitted by Dr. Khalid Hamad Al Mohannadi; Head of the Studies and Research Unit at the Qatar-based GCC-Criminal Information Center to Combat Drugs (GCC-CICCD), tackled the phenomenon of synthetic drugs in the Gulf region.
David Bishop of the Anti-Narcotics Department at the US Consulate in Dubai submitted a paper on the illicit synthetic drugs trafficking in the Gulf region.
Furthermore, UNODC Laboratory and Scientific Section (LSS) at the Research and Trend Analysis Branch (RAB)submitted a second paper titled, “New psychoactive substances: challenges, phenomena, types, and dynamics”.
In his work paper, Colonel Expert Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al Dabal, from the Dubai Police Hemaya International Training Centre, highlighted the regional response aimed at countering the widespread threat of synthetic drugs in GCC countries.
The Regional Conference on New Synthetic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances will conclude its activities tomorrow, Wednesday, after reviewing and discussing the diverse papers submitted by the experts and specialists taking part in the Conference. A set of recommendations will be announced upon conclusion of the conference.