Brits cautioned against taking certain medicines abroad

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The UK's Foreign Office has issued a statement warning Brits against carrying certain medications with them on holidays abroad.

The statement explains that common medicines such as Vicks for example, is banned in certain countries such as Singapore, Greece and Japan and if tourists are caught with these in these countries, they could be jailed. Sleeping pills, codeine and drugs for treatment of ADHD are banned in Indonesia for example.

Image Credit: Raihana Asral / Shutterstock
Image Credit: Raihana Asral / Shutterstock

This statement warning came after a recent spat with the law some Britons got into in some exotic countries over the past one year. The Foreign Office has stated that they have dealt with 22,157 consular cases from 2017 until now.

Bangkok was the destination that most people got into trouble with the law over medications they said. The Bangkok consulate had to handle 66 drug related cases that involved arrest and detection over the past one year, the officials add. Ibiza and Alicante consulates dealt with 41 and 31 cases each.

The government officials state that only a third of the tourists travelling abroad look up the rules pertaining to what drugs they can carry to their destination country. The rules are different for different countries. Some places such as Costa Rica and China demand a doctor’s note to be accompanied with the medications that the individuals carry. Some over the counter medications in England may be prescription-only medications in some countries they warn. Codeine, Tramadol and Diazepam for example are controlled drugs in certain countries such as Greece and the UAE and their possession could mean arrests, imprisonment and fines.

According to Julia Longbottom, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Consular Director, British tourists research the weather they are likely to encounter before travelling more commonly than researching the local laws and customs. She added that in addition to looking up online if sunscreens are necessary, tourists should check for the necessary medications as well. She added that their website has travel advice which the tourists and travellers should read up and follow to avoid getting into trouble.

She said, “ABTA – The Travel Association, estimates that about 25 million British people will be jetting off on their summer holiday this year, and we want to do all we can to help them stay safe and enjoy their travels. The FCO can’t give legal advice or get people out of prison, so we are urging those heading off on their summer break to join the 16 million people a year who check our Travel Advice, to ensure they are properly prepared for their trip and avoid any potential trouble.”

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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