The first online presentation of the International Development Policy Journal’s 12th thematic issue “Drug Policies and Development: Conflict and Coexistence” took place on November 4, 2020, co-organized with the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) and the Center of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA) under the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Malaya.

International drug control mechanisms are focused on the elimination of drug production, use, and trafficking, through the operationalization of repressive public policies criminalizing these substances and their non-medical use. The implementation of these policies has had a detrimental impact on other global development objectives.

As debates on the introduction of more proportionate responses to drug use are seriously considered in Malaysia; extrajudicial killings still ongoing in the Philippines; and reforms on medical cannabis in Thailand taking place; Southeast Asia is experiencing a variety of approaches to control drugs. This event hosted an evidence-based discussion on the interactions between drug control and development, link them to the regional debates, and provide scientific findings on the history of drug eradication; on inclusive policies; and on the diverse impacts of drug policies in armed conflict situations.

The Keynote Speaker of the event was Prof. Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Director of the CERiA. Mr. Ahsan Ahmad, Research Associate at the Yale School of Medicine and a visiting Research Associate at CERiA, moderated the event. Speakers included Dr. Khalid Tinasti, Director of the GCDP; Ms. Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC); Dr. John Collins, Executive Director of the London School of Economics’s (LSE)’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU); and Ms. Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Switzerland.

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