Drug Abuse in the Global Village



Extent of Drug Abuse: No information as to the extent of drug abuse among the general population is reported. However, it has been reported that 25% of the total prison population are drug abusers (CMO 1991).
Abuser Characteristics: Most drug abusers are unemployed with medium to low levels of education (CMO 1990). According to 1989 data most drug dependent abusers are unemployed with a small proportion of abusers among workers (CMO 1989).
Among the working sector, taxi and lorry drivers are considered to be at risk (CMO 1991).
Regional Variations: Abuse is reported more prevalent in towns than in villages (CMO 1990).
Trends: No information reported by 31st December 1993.
Mode of intake: Approximately 1 to 2 per cent of the drug dependent abusers are intravenous drug abers. When treated, they are reported rapidly converted to oral maintenance (CMO 1991).


One case of hepatitis non A non B type was reported in 1992, in a heroin addict. Among solvent abusers, incidence of ataxia, abnormal involuntary movements and cerebellar damage was reported. A total of six drug related deaths were reported in 1992 (2 heroin abusers and 1 abuser of other opiate-type drugs, 1 benzodiazepine, and 2 unknown) (CMO 1991).


National Strategy: There is coordination at the local level between the Ministry of Health and the Police Force of the Sultanate of Oman. There is also regional coordination in drug control between the states of the Gulf States Cooperation Council (CMO 1990).


Treaty adherence: Oman is party to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.


Primary Prevention: Basic and further training in drug education is included in the education programmes of doctors, nurses and law enforcement personnel (CMO 1991).
Prevention programmes are organized by law enforcement agencies, and are aimed at those who are considered at risks. Newspaper and magazine articles were published in the 1980's and 1990's promoting drug prevention messages for the public in general, and a television serial was aired in 1991 (CMO 1991). However, since the problem is reported limited, exposure in the media is not favoured for fear of causing negative reactions (CMO 1990).
Treatment and Rehabilitation: Treatment and rehabilitation policies include methadone replacement therapy for established opiate addicts, conversion from injectable to non injectable/oral drugs, detoxification, motivation to stop abuse, social support, psychotherapy, family therapy and educational and rehabilitation programmes (CMO 1991).

There are two treatment facilities available, one in a psychiatric hospital and one within a prison. A reported total of 296 addicts were treated in 1992 (compared to 249 in 1991), and 135 abusers sought treatment for the first time in 1992 (compared to 204 in 1991). All the abusers are male. Most of the patients who received treatment are alcohol and perfumes abusers, followed by abusers of opiate-type drugs and volatile solvents. The number of opiate-type drug abusers seeking treatment decreased from 36% in 1991 to 9% in 1992 (CMO 1991).

For people who have undergone treatment and rehabilitation, special assistance in finding employment is available from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and assistance in finding accommodation is available from the Ministry of Housing. Counselling for ex-abusers is available through psychiatric services (CMO 1991).


Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences: In 1989, a total of 62 males, mainly between 20-30 years, were arrested and convicted for possession of illicit drugs; 40 people for heroin possession and 22 for cannabis possession. A total of 18 people were arrested and convicted for drug trafficking that same year, 10 for heroin trafficking and 8 for cannabis trafficking (U.N. 1989).
Seizures:  In 1990, 59.6 kg of cannabis resin were seized. In 1991, almost 1 kg of heroin was seized (Other 1990, 1991).
Supply Source of Drugs: A new route for smuggling drugs into the country has been discovered in which the traffickers go to Pakistan, then to Tanzania and then come back to Muscat. Most of the drugs are concealed within the personal belongings (U.N. 1989).

References and Notes
U.N., 1989. Reply to the UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire.

CMO 1989 and 1991. Replies to the questionnaire concerning the seven targets of the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control.

Other 1990, 1991. Obtained from one or more seizure reports provided by the Government or from other official sources for the years 1990 and 1991.
** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was not available by 15th January 1994.