Tracing the Root of Asia’s Illegal Drugs Conundrum

Illegal drug trade is a perennial problem in Asia. Over the years, the continent has been an unwilling witness to the rampant production, manufacturing, and distribution of drugs such as opiates and cocaine. It houses two areas known for large-scale opium production, namely, the Golden Crescent, which encompasses Central, South, and Western Asia; and the Golden Triangle, which includes Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. To put an end to these massive trade operations, governments are taking desperate measures.


According to a UN report, world heroin consumption amounts to 340 tons with a surplus of 110 tons available for shipping anytime. In many countries of Asia, the penalties for illegal trade are severe. In order to dispel the stigma of being the world’s major hub for drug trafficking, governments, particularly those of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, are doing everything they can to stop the trade. China and Singapore, for instance, impose mandatory death penalty for those who are caught for drug offences, a measure human right groups around the world deem unnecessary.

In 2005,the debate regarding death penalty reached fever pitch when the Singaporean High Court hanged Vietnamese-Australian Van Tuong Nguyen for trafficking heroin. Tuong Nguyen was en route from Australia to deliver the packages to Cambodia. Singaporean authorities apprehended him when they discovered packets of heroin strapped to his body and another pack in his luggage. The Singaporean High Court’s action prompted criticisms and appeals to repeal the death sentence. Ultimately, Tuong Nguyen breathed his last on December of that year at Changi Prison.


Drug trafficking will not exist if no one will use the drugs. Unfortunately, because the trade is a lucrative business, drug traffickers still create the supply even if there is no demand for it, starting the vicious cycle all over again. This is where drug rehabilitation programs come into play. Rehabilitating drug users will effectively put an end to the addiction and illegal trade. With hundreds of rehab programs scattered in Asia, authorities hope this will stifle circulation of illegal drugs in the region.

Today, drug rehab programs provide newer ways of reintegrating former users into the society. Some facilities like Drug Rehab & Alcohol Rehab Center Asia offers luxurious amenities which include fully-equipped gym, massage room, library and more. Participants will not feel excluded from society in this kind of rehabilitation environment.

Drug trafficking can be stopped. With rehabilitation and awareness programs, and severe government measures, the dangers of the illegal drug trade will go down drastically. This will save lives and even societies.

About the Author

As a New York-based psychologist. Thelma Scott has conducted several seminars tackling adult autism.