The development of drug policies in Malaysia has historically relied on harsh punitive measures, including widespread arrest and incarceration of users, and the continuing use of the death penalty for trafficking offences.

However, since 2005, the introduction of harm reduction services as well as the more recent initiation of a process to transform compulsory drug treatment centres into voluntary needsbased services for people who use drugs indicates that Malaysia’s response to drugrelated issues has become increasingly health focused.

This paper provides an insight into Malaysian drug policies and the environment in which the national response to drugs has been developing in terms of harm reduction, prisons, drug treatment, law enforcement responses and civil society participation. An analysis of the situation concludes with recommendations for further drug policy development.