10 March 2022

The Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2021

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There were at least 131 executions for drug offences globally in 2021 - a shocking 336% increase from 2020.

The death penalty in numbers

Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since 2007; providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences.

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2021 found that:

35 countries still retain the death penalty for drug offences.

At least 131 people were executed for drug offences in 2021.

A severe lack of transparency means this is only a partial picture and likely to represent only a fraction of all drug-related executions carried out globally.

A minimum of 237 death sentences for drug crimes were reported in at least 16 countries.

Roughly one tenth of all known death sentences for drugs were given to foreign nationals.

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