It is commonplace for travellers travelling abroad to bring their prescribed medications or even a few course of extra over the counter medications as a cover for common ailments. What these travellers are not aware of is that carrying some of the most common medications available in Australia can actually have serious repercussions when they are travelling abroad. Anything from a heavy fine to a jail sentence and or being treated like a drug peddler can be experienced if one is not careful about the prevalent rules of the country he is travelling to.
There has been a world wide concerted effort to cut down on the menace of methamphetamine. In order to stop the flow of methamphetamine based illicit substances, pseudoephedrine based medications are being banned. Pseudoephedrine is a very common place item available in medications for cough & cold in Australia. However if you are to travel with any amount of pseudoephedrine based medication on your person to Japan, you are going to be treated like a drug peddler.
Codeine is another substance that has serious ramifications when travelling abroad, especially to Dubai, UAE. Common codeine-based painkillers, valium and Ritalin are banned in Dubai and there are tough laws in place for anybody found with them on person. Even if small amounts of the substance are available in a person’s bloodstream or baggage, he can land into serious trouble. In a recent incident, a British woman was detained in a Dubai jail for eight weeks for being with codeine in her bloodstream, before being released and sent home.
Michael McAuliffe, Executive Director at SureSave, warns travellers from carrying substances that may land them into trouble. He advises travellers to be sure what medications are allowed in the country that they are planning to travel to. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) suggests that the best recourse where you need to carry your prescribed medications overseas is to check with the appropriate consulate / embassy about the substances that are allowable and the exact procedure to carry them to that country. Extra information may be required and additionally a customs clearance or an import permit may be required to bring even prescribed medications inside the country.
McAuliffe suggested that the best recourse would be not to bring any medications inside a foreign country, not knowing what implications it might have. Even if you are not feeling all right or have a tendency to feel the heat when travelling, it is best to not carry any medications lest you want to spend some time in a jail cell somewhere in an unknown country. Travel agents arranging group tours are advised to check the SureSave website for further details about countries such as Japan.