The importance of penal measures in the control of drugs has been recognized by various Asian countries during the last three centuries. The countries of the Asian region referred to in this article have legislation providing for different penal measures against drug offences. Severe punitive sanctions, including the death penalty, have been prescribed for serious drug offences by Iran (Islamic Republic of), Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Several countries in the region have made legal provisions for the compulsory treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependent persons. There is, however, a paucity of research studies on the efficiency of penal measures and approaches in drug control. Given the long tradition of punitive measures and the wide variety of penal approaches adopted to cope with drug-related problems, various Asian countries can provide interesting cases for criminological research on the effectiveness of penal measures in combating drug problems.