Understanding Foreign Laws On Controlled Substances Is Never A Bad Idea

posted by Chris Valentine

We always come across it in the headlines. Someone brings prescribed drugs into another country, unknowing of the laws of that country which can send them to jail or worse. What are prescribed drugs or over the counter drugs in your country can be illegal or considered as controlled substances in other countries.

While laws will vary from country to country, there can be severe consequences when you bring in a large amount of medication which often happens when people travel for a long duration. Most countries in the Middle East have very strict narcotic laws which have sent many travelers to jail. As of 2018, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had passed extremely strict laws even if you’re only in transit, and requires you register online the drugs you’ll be carrying. Japan has restrictions on common inhalers and various allergy medications. Also, some countries with the strictest laws have the most drug problems, such as Iran which is the highest producer of opium.

Now with several countries and states legalizing recreational cannabis use and its medical use, the situation gets even more complicated. It’s becoming quite imperative to know the drug laws of the country you’ll be traveling to.  Before travel, there are a few things you would need to do so that you don’t fall into a legal nightmare that could literally ruin your life.

Check with the embassy:

The embassy of the country you’re going to can provide you the correct information. Don’t depend on what someone else has told you or something you read online in passing, and just go to the source, which would be the foreign embassy. Some countries might give a one-month or two-month allowance for the drugs or you might find out that particular drug is strictly prohibited under all circumstances.  

Check with your doctor:

If a drug is completely banned, you would need to talk to your doctor about an alternative medicine. If you feel that you are very dependent on a certain drug and that you don’t function normally without it or go through various withdrawal symptoms, that drug could very well have a controlled substance in it. In many cases, you might be wondering, ‘are there any helpful rehabilitation centers near me?’ before making travel plans to help you detox. The answer is always a definite yes, make sure you do sufficient research and find a center that is reliable and well known. Detoxing is the initial step to take for addicted individuals or anyone who has developed a substance dependency.

Bring your prescriptions:

You should pack your prescriptions with you and don’t remove any drugs from their original bottles or boxes where your name is written as it is on your passport, plus the name of the prescribing doctor, and the dosage. You can also take an extra precautionary step and get any medical papers translated into the language of the country you’ll be at.

Be smart

When traveling, don’t take any risks with drugs because of possible severe consequences. Strict laws can include confiscation of your medicine, a long jail sentence, paying heavy fines, or both a fine and jail sentence. Gather all the correct information about the drug laws so that you land in a beautiful country and not in jail.


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