Punishment of Drinking Alcohol in Saudi Arabia

Can you drink alcohol in Saudi Arabia? Well, the answer is absolute “NO”. The punishment for drinking alcohol is very strict in Saudi Arabia.

Alcohol drinking, producing, trading and smuggling are strictly banned in Saudi Arabia and one who is found in violation is seriously punished with a few exceptions. 

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Who can drink alcohol in Saudi Arabia?

Foreign delegates, diplomats, and foreign embassies have an exemption under this subject.  They have a set quota to import alcoholic drinks for their personal use. Normally the Saudi government sets a quota for them. 

Otherwise, it is very difficult to get it and even if you find one, it will be “homebrew” which means homemade.

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Drinking in Compounds of Foreign Residents

Having said that, it is generally known that Suadi residents of western countries arrange parties in their compounds where they drink alcohol very openly.

Although I have never experienced it personally, there are some “NO GO COMPOUNDS” where foreigners arrange such kind alcoholic parties.

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Punishment for drinking alcohol in Saudi Arabia

We have heard that some foreigners who were caught trading alcoholic drinks were punished with 500 lashes. There are also cases when foreigners were detained from the airport just because they were selling alcohol.

Drinkers of Alcohol are also sentenced to lashes. If you are an expatriate caught drinking alcohol, the minimum punishment is deportation with 5 years ban.

Dangers of Homebrew in Saudi Arabia

In the absence of branded alcoholic drinks in Saudi Arabia, some people rely on home-based drinks which is quite dangerous.

I have heard about some cases in South Asian countries when several people died just because of drinking locally manufactured alcoholic drinks. There are no quality checks and no purity in these drinks.

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Alcohol Addiction Treatment Saudi Arabia

There are plenty of alcohol treatment centers in Riyadh and alcohol addiction centers in other parts of Saudi Arabia which are operating at a private level.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.