Though any psychoactive substance can be revered or reviled as a drug, as people's cultural norms shift, ultimately its status is determined in law by the state. This publication explores the regulation of drugs – alcohol and cannabis to heroin and cocaine – and practices such as social drinking and public injecting under political regimes. Drugs are discussed in their geographical contexts: the colonial legacy of cannabis prohibition for bioprospecting in Africa; the veracity of the persistent notion of the narco-state; Turkey's governance of drinking amid civil unrest; and alcohol's place in the neoliberal political economy of Ireland. In addition, drug policies are examined: from problems in managing drug-related litter in the UK to supervised injecting facility provision in Australia; harm reduction in Canada; and the global network of drug policy activists. Place is significant, but porous borders, territorial overlaps and multi-scalar linkages are influential in remaking the world through current challenges to the "war on drugs'. This book was originally published as a special issue of Space & Polity.