The Asian cocaine crisis: pharmaceuticals, consumers and control in South and East Asia, 1900–1945


  • Prof James Mills

    University of Strathclyde

Project summary

Between 1900 and 1945 Asia became one of the world's largest markets for cocaine - both as a medicinal substance and as a recreational intoxicant. In 1900, officials imposed controls on sales and grappled with the trade of the substance for the next five decades.

The project aims to: explain the growth of the market in the region; shine a light on the government’s response; trace sources of supply and distribution; identify the origins of ideas about cocaine in Asia. The project will provide radical new perspectives on the production, consumption and control of medicines and intoxicants in the modern world.