4.4.3 The Rest Of The World

The Rest Of The World #

Wherever you live, whatever the location, if you engage with drugs, in any capacity, it is essential that you undertake at least some elementary research, along the lines documented earlier for the United Kingdom and the United States.

It is in your own interests to:

  • Know your local laws
  • Know your rights

These vary considerably from nation to nation, as the war on drugs is interpreted and applied to differing extremes, and accordingly, human rights are abused to varying degrees. In many cases, the law represents a greater threat to your well being, and that of your family, than the drug itself.

This issue should never be dismissed as something that will never happen to you. It can happen to anyone; even to the innocent.


If you travel, and intend to engage en route or at a foreign destination, you need to be just as aware of the local situation as residents. In some locations you should be even more aware, as racism and prejudice may also play a detrimental role.

Unless you are fully informed of local laws, customs and practices, you may well be taking serious risks of which you are unaware. Do the research well in advance, and base your decisions upon sound factual information.

If you are unable to do this, or if in any doubt, it is strongly suggested that you refrain.

Wherever you sample or possess a psychoactive drug, know the local law and know your rights

Wherever you sample or possess a psychoactive drug, know the local law and know your rights


These are two of the most notorious prisons in South East Asia. I visited inmates in them some years ago, whilst pursuing various humanitarian projects.


I took this photograph in the remand section of Klongprem Central Prison. Behind the glass are the prisoner visitation rooms.


The visitor area in Kerobokan Prison in Bali was an open-air space, largely exposed to the blazing sun, with seating being the ground itself. I was unable to take an interior shot due to confiscation of phones and cameras on entry.

How many non-violent drug offenders are incarcerated in these and countless places like them? Take special care not to become one on your own travels.

Unfortunately, it gets even worse:


In January 2019, President Sirisena of Sri Lanka cited President Duterte’s murderous campaign in the Philippines (official death toll at time of writing over 5,000), as “an example to the world.” A month later he informed the Sri Lankan parliament of his intention to authorise hanging for drug offenders.

A practical issue with respect to this was the need to find willing employees to perform the gruesome task itself. Incredibly, these positions were duly advertised in the Sri Lankan media. I took the following photograph outside the Daily News building in Kandy, February 2019.