By Mangai Balasegaram - The Diplomat
Some Asian countries are dropping punitive approaches in favor of a health-centered approach.
Executions, forced and arbitrary detentions, beatings, whipping, incarceration and hard labor — This is a common face of drug policy in many Asian nations, and one that is looking ever more archaic.
Half a million drug users are held annually in compulsory detention centers in China and Southeast Asia, according to estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Arduous physical exercises and military drills are often routine there, as is violence – former detainees described shocks with electric batons and whipping with electric wires to Human Rights Watch.
Roughly 50 to 70 percent of prisoners in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand are in jail for drug-related crimes. In extreme cases, prisoners pay with their lives. Indonesia is currently preparing executions for drug trafficking.
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Thumbnail: Flickr drburtoni