Debunking the Three Myths About Reforming Asian Drug Policies


Michelle Miao and Gloria Lai

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Abstract: In the context of evolving global drug policies, notable shifts have occurred, yet Asia persists as a region marked by stringent approaches to drug use and distribution. Analyzing recalcitrant jurisdictions offers insights into potential trajectories of global drug policy. Asia’s entrenched political and legal systems, resistant to harm reduction and human rights paradigms, wield substantial influence in shaping drug policy dialogues and reforms. This chapter provides an Asian drug policy overview, examining prevailing myths. Firstly, the causal link between historical trajectories and current reliance on prohibition is debunked. Secondly, the compatibility of criminal justice and harm reduction as complementary regulatory strategies is asserted, though transitioning remains intricate. Lastly, the pivotal role of human rights approaches in molding future Asian drug policy reform is underscored, refuting assertions of limited normative impact.

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