Bangladesh has enacted the Narcotics Control Act in 1990. The Act aims to control narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and to provide measures for treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. The sale of narcotics is prohibited except for producing approved medicines, treatment, industrial use or if it is necessary for
conducting scientific research . Use for industrial, medical and scientific purposes is permitted only under a license issued by the Director General of the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) or by an officer authorized by him. The Act permits drug use if medically indicated.
The Central Government has created a National Fund for the Control of Drug Abuse inter alia for "identifying, treating and rehabilitating addicts, preventing drug abuse, educating public against drug abuse and supplying drugs to addicts where such supply is a medical necessity" under Section 7A of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act). Under the NDPS Act, the Government may establish centres for identification, treatment, education, after-care rehabilitation and social re-integration of addicts. Such treatment centres and others approved by the Government are permitted to use prohibited substances for detoxifying addicts. The Act enables non-government entities to set up drug treatment services. The government may supply drugs, otherwise prohibited, to drug users on medical grounds. The Central and State Governments are authorized to frame rules to regulate such supplies. Rules enacted under the Act allow licensed pharmacists to supply a narcotic or a psychotropic drug to foreigners carrying a medical prescription. The NDPS Act clearly provides for treatment of drug-dependent offenders.
The original Law on Narcotics was enacted in 1977. However, it has been amended four times since then, reflecting the problems related to increasing drug consumption, and to be in consonance with the UN and SAARC narcotics conventions. The first amendment introduced two schedules demarcating "illegal drugs" and "medical drugs" for purposes of criminal culpability, in keeping with the UN and SAARC conventions. The classification of prohibited substances is found in the schedules to the law, categorized into "Illegal Drugs" and "Medical Drugs". Illegal Drugs include cannabis, cocaine, heroin, buprenorphine and MDMA. Methadone, pethidine, morphine and codeine are classified as medical drugs. In the context of harm reduction, it should be noted that buprenorphine is on the schedule of illegal drugs, whereas methadone and pethidine are on the schedule of medical drugs.
Nepal is the first country in the region that started a government-approved oral substitution programme in the form of Methadone Maintenance Clinic (MMC). Methadone is a Schedule A drug under the Drug Act 2035 and has to be approved by the MOHA to be imported into the country. Besides the government methadone clinic, another oral drug substitution programme using buprenorphine was being run by an NGO, Naulo Ghumti, with the support of International Nepal Fellowships (INF) in Pokhara. Buprenorphine used to be procured by an arrangement with an international organisation.
The Control of Narcotic Substances Act (CNSA), 1997 is the secular legislation on narcotics in Pakistan. Although the CNSA and the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order 1979 do not permit oral substitution therapy for drug users, such programs could be implemented lawfully if supply of methadone/buprenorphine is recognized as a medical necessity or for the purpose of treatment of drug dependents.