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Detention as Treatment

The widespread availability and use of methamphetamine in Southeast Asia has been a very real concern for families and communities. As this report details, the prevailing response in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia has been compulsory detention—generally without medical management of detoxification.

Detention in these centers is itself a threat to health and life: detainees are often subjected to physical and sexual abuse, and risk of contracting infectious diseases is high. Virtually 100 percent of people return to drug use upon leaving detention. Yet these centers continue to receive support from governments under the banner of "treatment" for drug use.

This report published by the Open Society Institute and the Nossal Institute for Global Health calls on the United Nations and donor countries such as the United States to immediately cease any financial support for maintaining or building new detention centers. It further calls on the governments of Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand to release those currently detained, and devise strategies to permanently close drug detention centers.

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