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If you become involved in taking, carrying or dealing in drugs while on holiday, or try to bring drugs back with you, it could cost you dearly. Don't allow yourself to be persuaded or coerced into carrying drugs - it's not worth risking your life or spending years or even life in prison.

Getting involved with drugs abroad: the risks

Remember that:

  • depending on what country you are in, if caught in possession of narcotics you could face anything from a fine to the death penalty
  • many countries outside the UK refuse to grant bail to those suspected of drugs offences before trial and often detain people in solitary confinement
  • you will get a criminal record in the UK if caught with drugs abroad
  • if you've been caught with drugs abroad, you're unlikely to ever be allowed to visit that country again
  • if you get injured or ill as a result of illicit drugs use, your holiday insurance may be invalidated and your tour operator can refuse to fly you home  

If you get involved with drugs abroad, the British Consul cannot:

  • get you out of jail
  • get you better prison conditions than are provided for locals or other nationals
  • give legal advice

You can find out about what help you can get at the page below:

Don't be a victim of drugs abroad

To make sure you don't become a victim of drugs abroad, you should:

  • pack all luggage yourself and make sure it's securely fastened
  • keep your luggage with you at airports and other departure points to avoid the possibility of having drugs planted in it
  • be aware of approaches from people at airports - even seemingly innocent requests to look after someone's possessions can lead to problems
  • don't carry anything through customs for someone else - if drugs are found, you will be held responsible
  • for similar reasons don't cross borders with people you don't know or drive across borders with unknown companions
  • carry a doctor's prescription for any medication you may need to avoid unnecessary delays at customs and immigration checks
  • be very cautious when accepting gifts from people abroad - it's easy to hide drugs in items such as trainers, cosmetics and children's toys

Visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Travel Advice pages for information on drug laws and penalties country by country.

Travelling on an Irish passport

If you are travelling on an Irish passport, you can find useful information on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

More useful links