In certain countries illegal importing, exporting, sale, or possession of drugs constitute capital offences that may result in the death penalty. According to a 2011 article by the Lawyers Collective, an NGO in India, "32 countries impose capital punishment for offences involving narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances." A 2012 report by Harm Reduction International "documents the 33 countries and territories that retain death penalty for drug offences, including 13 in which the sentence is mandatory."
The Singapore embarkation card contains a warning to visitors about the death penalty for drug trafficking under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Warning signs can also be found at the Johor-Singapore Causeway and other border entries.
Making this discussion somewhat easier is the fact that in a recent case totally unrelated to drug trafficking (the case itself addressed the constitutionality of imposing the death penalty for rape of a child where no death occurs), Kennedy v. Louisiana, the U.S. Supreme Court conducted a detailed analysis of the distinction between crimes that do and do not take a human life and the relationship of each type of crime to the death penalty. Within this analysis, in a non-binding portion of the Court’s opinion (dictum), the Court drew an analytical line separating “offenses against the individual” from “offenses against the State.” In its holding, the Kennedy Court stated that, at least within the category of “offenses against the individual,” the death penalty is unconstitutional for crimes that do not take a human life, because the punishment of death is “excessive” and “disproportionate” to the crime, pursuant to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment.” With respect to the other category, however – “offenses against the State” – including crimes such as drug trafficking (and treason and espionage), even when they do not result in a death, the Court left open the possibility that the death penalty might not be unconstitutionally “excessive” punishment.