5 Countries with Shockingly Severe Drug Laws

When travelling to any foreign country, it’s definitely a good idea to read up on their drug laws even if certain drugs are legal where you come from. Many countries around the world still take drug possession very seriously and being caught with drugs can even be a death sentence. Some of the countries with the harshest drug penalties include:


In 2007, 470 drug offenders were executed in China. This gives you a brief idea of how seriously they take their drug laws. In China, a person who’s caught transporting 1 kilo or more of methyl Benzedrine or heroin can be sentenced to death. This same sentence may apply to a person caught smuggling 50 grams or more of ‘other narcotics’. Other narcotics in this case may mean opium, cannabis or cocaine. China has refused to change its harsh policies on drugs despite the pressure coming from watchdog groups. Anyone travelling to China is strongly advised against using or selling illegal drugs.


One of the first signs you’ll notice when you enter Indonesia is one warning you that drug traffickers will be arrested and executed. This is a warning that is best taken seriously. Drug laws in this country are very strict and don’t just apply to the people involved. A parent who doesn’t tell the police that their child is using narcotics may also face criminal charges. Drug use among Indonesians is still high despite these laws but the government hasn’t relented in this matter, believing that an execution will be a greater deterrent compared to a long prison sentence. These laws apply to locals and internationals in the country too.


Iran has had a very public war on drugs. In the decades past, over 10,000 people have been publicly executed in the country. These people included both users and traffickers. In recent times, things seem to have only gotten worse with the government executing 650 people in 2010, 90% of whom were charged with drug-related crimes. Punishment extends to users of the drugs as well as anyone caught using or possessing drugs may face a maximum or 70 public lashes. This includes anyone using cannabis too.


Littering in Singapore is a transgression that can result in several lashes with a cane. Naturally, their punishments for drug related crimes will be severe. A person caught with certain amounts of drugs will automatically be charged as an international trafficker. It will not make a difference whether or not there was an exchange. You could also be subjected to a police search without a warrant and possibly face maximum penalties if you’re seen leaving a known drug establishment. Heroin traffickers are frequently executed on the island.


A DJ who carried 2.16 grams of marijuana into the International Airport in Dubai recently received a four-year prison sentence (later reduced to 7 months). A Swiss man was also detained after three poppy seeds (supposedly from a sandwich) were found on his shirt. He was later released but this shows how serious the drug laws are in the country.

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