More and more young travellers are getting drawn into using, carrying or even smuggling drugs abroad. Whilst drugs may be freely available on the streets in many countries you will find that most countries impose very harsh sentences for drug crime especially for trying to take drugs through customs.
Some countries such as Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Iran and Algeria can impose the death penalty for some drug related offences. Many other countries can impose significant prison sentences in very poor conditions. The government will not be able get you out or provide legal advice and can only ensure that you are given the same treatment as a local national.
Remember if you are caught with drugs you could very well be risking your life. In places like Thailand many dealers have agreements to inform police of foreigners buying drugs in exchange for being allowed to continue dealing un-hassled. These police prey on foreigners demanding large bribes to avoid being arrested.
If you are even slightly tempted to become involved in drugs while you are away make an effort to watch the film “Midnight Express” which depicts very accurately the kind of conditions imposed throughout south east Asia for drugs offences.
In order to keep yourself safe make sure that you never agree to carry bags or packages through customs for anyone. Also ensure that you pack your bag yourself and that you do not leave it unattended or allow it to be tampered with.
If you are carrying medication with you ensure that you have an appropriate prescription. In most cases you will not be arrested for carrying common prescription medication but you may be stopped and questioned by customs officials which can result in delays and can often be quite intimidating.
Remember it is not worth risking 20 years in prison or even your life to carry drugs through customs even if you are offered large sums of money. Whoever is offering to pay you is not willing to take the risk themselves because they know the consequences!
Tourism concern has information on the damage the drug trade is having on global trade and tourism.