Editorial of the special section of the International Journal of Drug Policy, by our Centre Director Professor Karen Joe Laidler.
The Asian region is marked by a high number of killings that are carried out in the name of the war on drugs. Several countries retain the death penalty for drug offences, and there are also numerous extra-judicial killings of people who use drugs, especially in the Philippines. This special section of the International Journal of Drug Policy will build on work presented at the first Asian regional meeting of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, where several papers on such killings were presented.
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Dr. Trent Bax from Ewha Womans University, South Korea, is conducting an ongoing research on the life course of methamphetamine users in New Zealand. This project is presented in the format of a ’12-episode meth drama series’ on the project website.
Click here to know more about his project.
While a number of countries are experimenting with new approaches to drug policy, across much of Asia aggressive drug policies continue to prevail, as seen in the Philippines and Indonesia. One exception to that trend is Hong Kong’s methadone treatment program that was informed by global best practice but localized for the needs of Hong Kong. It is a bright spot in the region that can serve as a model for other countries that want to develop and enact drug policies rooted in public health and social support.
Started in 1975 in response to a growing health and social crises with a growing number of opiate-dependent, heroin-injecting residents, the Hong Kong methadone program aims to make drug treatment accessible to all who need and want it through its 20 clinics around the territory. Not only has Hong Kong’s methadone treatment approach provided an essential service to those living with opioid addiction, but it has also contributed to the successful control of HIV and Hepatitis C infection. The program’s success hinges on a number of qualities including accessible hours and locations, robust staffing and an understanding that abstinence should not be the only goal when supporting people with drug dependency.
- Dr. Robert Newman, MD, MPH, President Emeritus, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York (Author)
- Professor . Shui Shan Lee, Deputy Director of Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Dr. Addi KH Chan, Senior Medical & Health Officer, Department of Health, HKSAR
- Dr. Kasia Malinowska, Director of the Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations
- Prof. Karen A Joe Laidler, Director of Centre for Criminology, The University of Hong Kong (moderator)