Drug Abuse in the Global Village



Extent of Drug Abuse: Heroin is reported the most prevalent drug abused in Qatar. The estimated annual number of abusers is about 64 persons, with daily abuse estimated at 40 abusers (U.N. 1990). Benzodiazepines are the next most abused drug with about 17 annual abusers and 8 daily abusers (U.N. 1990). During the period of 1988-1990, the number of abusers was reported at 142, of whom 105 were reported for the first time in 1990 (CMO 1990).
Abuser Characteristics: Drug abuse in Qatar is reported more common among males aged 20-35, who have little education (CMO 1990).
Most heroin abusers are male (1 per cent female), and most are in the 20-30 age range. Abuse is more common among single and unemployed persons (U.N. 1990). About half of the benzodiazepine abusers are female, and most abusers are between 30-40 years of age. Abuse is most common among married housewives (U.N. 1990). Drug abuse among the youth is most common among those who lacked parental supervision, as well as among victims of excessive spoiling or harshness. About 90 per cent belong to families or family groups of which at least one person is a drug abuser (CMO 1990).
Regional Variations: No information reported by 31st December 1993.
Trends: Some decrease in the abuse of heroin and benzodiazepines was reported in 1990 (U.N. 1990).
Mode of intake: Heroin is smoked and benzodiazepines are ingested. The use of both drugs in combination is reported common (U.N. 1990).

A relationship between drug abuse and crime has been indicated. In a recent study, 25 per cent of the sample comprised people who had drug-related criminal records (CMO 1990).


National Strategy: Coordination at the regional level is maintained between law enforcement agencies of the Gulf Cooperation Council States (UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait) (CMO 1990). There is one legal regulation which prevents the promotion of drugs or encouragement of drug abuse by the media (CMO 1990).


Treaty adherence: Qatar is party to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.


Primary Prevention: No new preventive educational activities have been reported since 1987. The various educational institutions (family, school, university, mosque, youth welfare institutions) perform their role in making the population aware of the harmful effects of drugs through seminars and lectures. No drug prevention curricula are reported in educational programmes (CMO 1990).
Law enforcement agencies and health and social services are also active in making the population aware of the harmful effects of drugs. Besides these efforts, there are voluntary social, cultural and health efforts made by the Qatari Red Crescent Society to make
the society aware of the effects of drug abuse (CMO 1990).
Information agencies organize campaigns through the media which focused on creating awareness among the youth of the harmful effects of drug abuse, as well as explaining the Islamic law and Government legislation on drug related offences (CMO 1990).

Treatment and Rehabilitation: Drug dependent abusers are treated in the Mental Health Division of Hamad Medical Institution. Treating physicians meet with the patient to follow up his health situation and determine the quantity of medicine necessary. This treatment continues until the patient is cured and returns to his normal activities (CMO 1990).


Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences: A total of 125 people were convicted for drug possession and trafficking, all males. Most were between 30-50 years of age (64 per cent), and unskilled workers (60 per cent) (U.N. 1989).

Seizures In 1990, 8.8 kg of cannabis resin and 8.8 kg of heroin were seized. In 1991, almost 8.5 kg of cannabis resin and 1,278 units of stimulants were seized (Other 1990, 1991).

Supply Source of Drugs Drugs are smuggled directly and indirectly to Qatar from the Asian drug producing countries (U.N. 1989).

References and notes

U.N. 1989, 1990. Reply to the UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire.
CMO 1990. 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.