Taking Drugs Abroad and Travel Insurance

Getting involved with illegal drugs when travelling overseas is not only highly risky, but a potential life-wrecker and anything but a win-win situation. No amount of money in return for carrying drugs is worth the risk. Many people do not realise that travel insurance is unlikely to cover any claims related to illegal behaviour or excessive intoxication.

Some travellers believe they can safely transport ‘soft drugs’ for recreational use on holiday. However, many substances considered soft drugs at home are not viewed as such in other countries – and again travel insurance is unlikely to pick up the tab if things go wrong (depending on the circumstances).

Intoxication due to drugs and/or alcohol may, and often does, lead to arrest. Most countries have a low tolerance for drunk and disorderly behaviour. It is important to research the local laws and customs before visiting a foreign country to avoid inadvertently causing offense or getting arrested.

The punishment for a drugs offense abroad varies from country to country – but none of it is good news! Imagine suffering the humiliation of a strip search and interrogation, often in horrific, dangerous, and filthy conditions. Punishment can range from fines, to jail time, to a life sentence or even the death penalty – and in some countries bail is not granted for drug offenses.

There are more reasons to stay away from drugs – especially when travelling – than can be listed here, but here are a few:

  • Health risks associated with taking drugs – often fatal in hot climates with the effects of dehydration
  • Mixing drugs with other substances, including alcohol, may produce unexpected and often deadly or bizarre side-effects, including hallucinations
  • Drugs purchased in a foreign country (or anywhere) may have been cut with unknown substances
  • Mixing drugs with prescribed medicines may cause dangerous reactions
  • Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol makes you an easy target for criminals

A few popular holiday destination countries with a zero-tolerance policy to drugs include: Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Denmark, Tunisia, Venezuela, Jamaica, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (i.e. Dubai). In many other countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Iran the death penalty is imposed for serious drug charges. Many travellers have the misconception that they can freely do drugs in Amsterdam, but drugs are illegal there (including psychoactive mushrooms) although, at the time of writing, there are designated places where the use of cannabis is tolerated.

A criminal conviction from abroad follows a person home where it may seriously impact their life and career. Consulates and embassies abroad are unable to intervene if local laws are broken. Imagine being alone and facing legal proceedings in a country where you do not speak or understand the language.

A few tips to help avoid trouble:

  • Choose friends wisely. If your companion is found to be in possession you are likely to be implicated
  • Make a pact with trusted friends to watch out for each other so that no one is left alone if intoxicated (or a victim of drug spiking) but taken back to the hotel, or a hospital
  • Write down details of your hotel with phone number, local emergency numbers, and numbers for the nearest consulate or embassy
  • Carry a copy of the prescription or doctor’s letter for any prescribed medicines. This is also necessary to take legal drugs through customs and immigration points
  • When heavily intoxicated, people are likely to choke to death on their own vomit if not watched and placed on their side
  • Airports use drug detection devices and sniffer dogs

So, what happens if you get into difficulties and require medical attention, end up in jail, or have your property stolen while under the influence of drugs or alcohol? It is unlikely that your travel insurance will cover any related claims. It is a lose-lose situation, whichever way you look at it, and could carry a hefty price tag. Why mess up a great holiday.

Source by Jean Andrews

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