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ID: 926

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Policy

Topics: Creating Enabling Environments; Drug Policy Reform and Advocacy

Presenting author: Khalid Tinasti

Presenting author biography:

Khalid Tinasti is the Executive Secretary of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which he joined as a Policy Analyst in 2013. Khalid holds a PhD in political science and held research fellowships at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva) and Swansea University (Wales).

Drug Policy and the law in Arab countries

Khalid Tinasti

Aims: The presentation will provide a detailed assessment of the provisions of Arab national laws to control the use of illicit drugs across the areas of punishment of drug users, penalties for drug dependence, legislation on use and dependence treatment (even if they are undifferentiated in the law), and the right of the convicted people who use drugs to confidentiality.

Background: With the MENA region being one of the two single regions in the world with increasing HIV infections, this presentation will focus on the legal sanctions of drug use and possession in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen

Methodology: A systematic review of the national legislations on drug control of 16 Arab countries as amended in January 2011 has been undertaken between June and August 2015. Peer-reviewed and grey literature as well as policy documents and news reports were used to gather information describing opiates, cocaine, cannabis and ATS use prevalence, drug-related arrested population and sociopolitical and legal context for people who use drugs in Arab countries.

Outcomes: Arab drug legislations address both drug dependence and drug consumption with similar policies and sanctions. Moreover, many laws consider drug possession and drug trafficking with similar sanctions, with no quantity criteria. Even where there are legal provisions to privilege treatment over incarceration, these are used infrequently and in only two countries, Algeria and Lebanon, do the drug laws prioritize treatment over imprisonment of drug users.

Conclusion: The presentation will allow delegates attending the conference to learn and understand the different sanctions and laws punishing drug use and possession in 16 countries members of the League of Arab States