Jumeirah Beach Residence

Important Information

Drink and Drugs

You're visiting an Islamic country - things are different, so take note if you want your holiday in Dubai to be incident free!

Drink - A zero-tolerance policy is strictly enforced. Do not drive if you've had any alcoholic drink and this applies equally to the morning after the night before. If you are caught drinking and driving you will face a prison sentence!

Alcoholic drinks are illegal in the general outdoors or in vehicles. It is against the law to walk in the street drinking alcohol or to be drunk in a public place.

However, whilst not all stand-alone restaurants are licenced, alcohol is readily available in hotels, bars and nightclubs, in both their internal and external bar and restaurant areas. Other than this, expat residents, but not tourists, can apply to have a special licence to buy alcohol from (generally well-hidden) liquor stores. You cannot buy alcohol from a supermarket.

Perhaps surprisingly you'll find a Duty Free shop at the airport when arriving in Dubai where you can buy a wide selection of alcohol, including wines and spirits, but ask the shop assistant what the allowance is per person and ensure they're transported in the boot/trunk of your taxi or hire car.

In Sharjah alcohol is totally banned in any circumstance.Being drunk in public or whilst driving a vehicle can land you in jail, and not just overnight! This does happen, so be warned!

Your first Dubai holiday? Look at Where To Stay in Dubai and Hotels in Dubai.

Drugs - We cannot stress this enough - this is a complete no-go area. Again, zero tolerance applies. Avoid non-prescription drugs totally - jail beckons! I'm sure we've all heard the story of a traveller entering Dubai who was found to have a speck of cocaine on the outer sole of his trainer...he was still in jail weeks later! Penalties are harsh. Equally important, be aware that the Emerati authorities count the presence of drugs in the bloodstream as possession.

On entering Dubai, passenger baggage is thoroughly screened for drugs. Bringing drugs into the country, even ones you have a prescription for or bought over the counter in your home country can lead to jail time.

This means that you cannot just assume your normal prescription drugs or over the counter drugs are legal. People have been imprisoned for having what, in their own country, would be considered normal and readily available drugs such as codeine, paracodol, temazepam, amphetamines and valium.

Check it out by looking at the UAE's Ministry of Health website page which is entitled 'Import of Personal Medicines via Travelers to the UAE', and where you can then choose to look at the Guidelines or a list of controlled registered medicines in the UAE. At times a list of controlled pharmaceutical substances in UAE can also be found on www.fairtrials.net. If in doubt check it out thoroughly through your UAE/Dubai Embassy or Consulate.

I recently started taking Diazepam (2mg) on prescription, as a muscle relaxant for cramp and found this was on the controlled list. After emailing the Dubai Ministry of Health to check, their email in reply gave me permission to take a month's supply into the country subject to having a doctor's letter confirming it as a properly prescribed and required prescription drug and also having an actual unused prescription with me as well, although this would not be useable in Dubai. I also thought it best to take a copy of their reply email with me as well, as back-up!

I suspect many people take their Dubai holiday totally ignorant of the controlled drugs list, thereby leaving themselves wide open to a spell in prison. Check it out before going.

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