"• Two countries resumed drug-related executions after a short hiatus: Singapore, after a two-year pause, and Saudi Arabia, which reneged on its 2021 declaration of a moratorium on executions for non-violent offences. 

"• At least 285 drug-related executions were carried out in 2022 (excluding figures from China, Vietnam, and North Korea). Despite being a gross underestimation, this still represents a 118% increase from 2021, and a staggering 850% increase from 2020. 

"• Drug offences were responsible for roughly 32% (or one in three) of all executions confirmed globally. This is the highest recorded figure in six years.

 "• Almost nine out of ten confirmed executions for drug offences took place in Iran.

 "• 303 death sentences for drug offences were confirmed in 18 countries (dozens more are likely). This represents a 28% increase in reported sentences from 2021. 

"• At least 3700 people are currently on death row for drug offences in 19 countries. 

"• People who are marginalised, including because of their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, drug use, mental and/or intellectual disability, and nationality, continue to be disproportionately impacted by the death penalty for drug offences. For example, In Iran, 40% of those executed for drug offences identified as Baluchi. This ethnic group represents around 2% of the total population. 

"• Two countries (Cuba and Sri Lanka) expanded the applicability of the death penalty for drug offences in law in 2022. 

"• Transparency remains a critical issue that hinders monitoring of the death penalty for drug offences, and as a consequence advocacy towards death penalty abolition. Throughout 2022, states not only failed to publish complete figures on the death penalty for drug offences, but also actively repressed civil society groups, activists and lawyers monitoring and challenging the use of capital punishment."


Giada Girelli, Marcela Jofré, and Ajeng Larasati. The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2022. London, England: Harm Reduction International, 2023.