Deaddicting Asia: The histories of interventions in narcotics use in India, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines, c. 1900-c. 1947

  • Baruah, Ved (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


How did Asians pursue ‘deaddiction’ in the first half of the twentieth-century? The question seems particularly relevant given that the consumer of narcotics and intoxicants in Asia has been described as ‘patient zero’ in a drugs plague that many have imagined spread across the globe from the nineteenth century onwards (Dikötter). The term itself seems peculiar to Asian contexts and covers all the intervention strategies devised there to ensure that those thought to be addicted to narcotics and intoxicants stopped using them. These strategies were produced by colonial governments or western-trained doctors, at times in collusion to justify international drug regulation. Just as often approaches seem to have been provided by practitioners from local medical systems, by consumers themselves, or by a range of commercial or cultural groups. This suggests that Asia is an important context to explore the emergence of the concept of addiction and its alternatives that has not been explored by historians to date. The project will deliver accounts of 'deaddiction' that challenge Eurocentric histories of addiction and which produce Asian perspectives on what remains a controversial and contested concept.
Short titleDeaddicting Asia
StatusNot started


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