The steady expansion of drug markets over the past two centuries is not unique to Asia, but the extent of government control over individual drug consumption, along with the pace and scale of violence employed by governments in their drug enforcement efforts appears stark in comparison. Governments in the region stand out for retaining use of the death penalty for drug offences, compulsory detention as the chief mode of drug rehabilitation, and state-sponsored campaigns of extrajudicial killing. This chapter analyses the historical development of drug policies and the nature of contemporary drug policies in the region, with the aim of understanding the factors that sustain some of the harshest approaches to drugs in the world.
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