A draft bill amending Myanmar 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law was published in newspapers in March 2017 for public consultation. It was subsequently discussed in the upper house of Parliament (Amyothar Hluttaw) on 16 August 2017.
The draft bill introduces important changes to Myanmar drug law. Most significantly, it intends to place public health at the heart of the country’s drug control strategy, and lengthy prison penalties for drug use have been eliminated to facilitate access to health services for drug users. This is a positive improvement and must be applauded as a progressive measure. Nevertheless, the draft bill also contains a number of shortfalls that could be addressed with a few basic, although fundamental, adjustments.
This paper thoroughly analyses the draft bill, and looks in detail at its provisions in the light of UN drug control treaties, international human rights norms, and the latest evidence and international best practices. We hope that this document will be a useful tool for members of the Government, Members of the Parliament, and other policy makers who are taking part in the drug law and policy reform processes in Myanmar. In this way we believe it can help further improve the current legislation.