NGO report

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2022

on 24 March 2023

Drug Offenses

Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our twelfth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international standards. As of December 2022, Harm Reduction International (HRI) recorded at least 285 executions for drug offences globally during the year, a 118% increase from 2021, and an 850% increase from 2020. Executions for drug offences are confirmed or assumed to have taken place in six countries: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, plus in China, North Korea and Vietnam – on which exact figures cannot be provided because of extreme opacity. Therefore, this figure is likely to reflect only a percentage of all drug-related executions worldwide. Confirmed death sentences for drug offences were also on the rise; with at least 303 people sentenced to death in 18 countries. This marks a 28% increase from 2021.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list China / Democratic People's Republic of Korea / Indonesia / Iran (Islamic Republic of) / Malaysia / Saudi Arabia / Singapore / Viet Nam
  • Themes list Drug Offenses