Qatar Announces First World Cup Drugs Seizure

(AFP) – Qatar announced Monday the first seizure of drugs during the football World Cup, including the painkiller tramadol, an opioid pain medication, which has been widely used in the sport.

Customs authorities at Hamad International Airport “foiled the smuggling” of 1,990 tramadol pills and 464.5 grammes (16.4 ounces) of hashish, according to a statement on Twitter, a day after the tournament began.

The illicit substances were found when customs officials “suspected” a passenger and inspected the luggage, the customs service said in its statement.

The passenger, whose nationality was not given, will appear in court, an official said.

Qatar has predicted that more than one million fans will come to the Gulf state for the month-long tournament that ends December 18.

The Gulf emirate has strict laws on drug possession which include long prison terms, large fines and deportation.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to add tramadol, an addictive synthetic opiate, to its banned list from 2024.

It is already prohibited in cycling.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland said in media interviews this year that he considered killing himself because of his overuse of tramadol.