Asia’s violent anti-drug crackdowns are hurting people, not the drug trade

Ruth Dreifuss, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Olusegun Obasanjo say that governments in Asia should look away from coercive means, like the death penalty and long prison sentences, and towards voluntary rehabilitation
South China Morning Post (China)
Thursday, November 9, 2017

With regional and international heads of state gathering in Manila for the 31st Asean Summit, it seems appropriate to examine whether there are more effective drug policies for dealing with the harms caused by the presence of drugs in society. The Philippines offers a striking example of the costs of violent repression – in lives, increased violence, public expenditure, the impact on public health and the undermining of the rule of law. Yet despite these costs, there is no sign of any long-term disruption in trade, no long-lasting solution. Tragically, we have serious reasons to fear contagion of this violent approach to other countries in the region. Indeed, Cambodia initiated a crackdown in January that has resulted in the arbitrary arrests of more than 8,000 people.