Centre for Drug Research USM

Academic Staff

Dr. Darshan Singh Mahinder Singh

Dr Darshan 1  

Bachelor of Commerce (Deakin University, Australia), Master of Public Administration (USM), PhD (USM)

Contact Information:
E-mail: darshan@usm.my
Telephone: +604-653 6029
Fax: +604-656 8669
Address: Centre for Drug Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang
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My key research focus includes studying the emergence and abuse of psychotropic substances, identifying addiction treatment and harm- reduction prevention challenges among people who use drugs (PWUDs). In addition, I also study ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) use motives, health risks and effects among PWUDs, methadone treatment barriers, HIV risk behaviours of amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) users, treatment barriers and needs of females who use drugs (FWUDs) and adolescents who use drugs, as well as determine the effectiveness of harm-reduction programs designed for PWUDs. I also analyse the strengths and weaknesses of drug policies like the death penalty and corporal punishment. I work closely with out-of-treatment PWUDs and people who use New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). I am also proactively engaged in University-Community-based engagement programs targeting communities plagued with drug abuse issues. My research aims to help improve drug policies and laws for the betterment of PWUDs and to meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Current Research Project:

  • Risky sexual and criminal behaviours of amphetamine type stimulant (ATS) users in Penang
  • Barriers to treatment compliance among patients in Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) Program in Malaysia
  • Opiate treatment barriers and risky sexual behaviours of female drug users (FDUs) in Malaysia
  • Risky behaviours and psychological problems in pil kuda (ATS) users in Kelantan
  • Behavioural characteristics and cognitive evaluation in ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) users in Malaysia


Current PhD student (as main supervisor)

  • Nadiah Mohd Saref
  • Norazlin Mohd Saref

Current Masters students (as main supervisor)

  • Charles George Gajim
  • Harinderan A/L Krishnan
  • Normazaini Mohd Noor
  • Ruzmayuddin Mamat



  1. Leong Bin Abdullah M.F.I, Singh, D., Vicknasingam, B.K. 2018. Case report of recreational Lysergic-Aciddiethylamide (LSD) use In Malaysia. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, 19(1), 21-23.
  2. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Müller, C.P., Swogger, M.T., Rahim, A.A., Leong Bin Abdullah M.F.I., Vicknasingam, B.K. (2018) Severity of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) psychological withdrawal symptoms. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2018 Aug 28:1-6. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2018.1511879. [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Vicknasingam, B., Narayanan, S., Singh, D., Chawarski, M. (2018) Decriminalization of drug use. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2018 May 8. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000429. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Singh, D., Murugaiyah, V., Hamid, S.B.S., Kasinather, V., Chan, M.S.A., Ho, E.T.W., Grundmann, O., Chear, N.J.Y., Mansor, S.M. (2018) Assessment of gonadotropins and testosterone hormone levels in regular Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.) users. J Ethnopharmacol., 221, 30-36
  5. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Vicknasingam, B.K., Prozialeck, W.C., Ramanathan, S., Zainal, H., Harun, S.N. (2018) Severity of Pain and Sleep Problems during Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) Cessation among regular kratom users. J Psychoactive Drugs., 20, 1.
  6. Singh, D., Müller, C.P., Murugaiyah, V., Hamid, S.B.S., Vicknasingam, B.K., Avery, B., Chear, N.J.Y., Mansor, S.M. (2018) Evaluating the hematological and clinical-chemistry parameters of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) users in Malaysia. J Ethnopharmacol., 214, 197.
  7. Hassan, Z., Bosch, O.G., Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Kasinather, B.V., Seifritz, E., Kornhuber, J., Quednow, B.B., Müller, C.P. (2017) Novel Psychoactive Substances-Recent Progress on Neuropharmacological Mechanisms of Action for Selected Drugs. Front Psychiatry, 8, 152.
  8. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Vicknasingam, B., Corazza, O., Santacroce, R., Roman-Urrestarazu, A. (2017) Changing trends in the use of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) in Southeast Asia. Hum Psychopharmacol., doi: 10.1002/hup.2582. 
  9. Singh, D., Narayanan, S., Vicknasingam, B. (2016) Traditional and non-traditional uses of Mitragynine (Kratom): A survey of the literature. Brain Res Bull., 126 (Pt 1), 41-46.
  10. Suppiah, B., Vicknasingam, B., Singh, D., Narayanan, S. (2016) Erectile dysfunction among people who use ketamine and poly-drugs. J Psychoactive Drugs, 48 (2), 86-92.
  11. Cinosi, E., Martinotti, G., Singh, D., Demetrovics, Z.,  Roman-Urrestarazu, A., Bersani, F.S., Vicknasingam, B., Piazzon, G., Li, J.H., Yu, W.J., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Farkas, J., Di Giannantonio, M., Corazza, O. (2015) Following “the roots” of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa): The evolution of an enhancer from a traditional use to increase work and productivity in South-East Asia to a recreational psychoactive drug in Western Countries. BioMed Res Int., Article ID 968786.
  12. Vicknasingam, B., Narayanan, S., Singh, D. (2015) The rise of groin injection among opiate drug users in Malaysia. International Journal of Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, 1 (3), 142-152.
  13. Vicknasingam, B., Dazali., M.N., Singh, D., Schottenfeld, R.S., Chawarski, M.C. (2015) Buprenorphine/naloxone treatment practices in Malaysia: Results of national survey of physician and patients. Drug Alcohol Depend., 152, 164-169.
  14. Singh, D., Müller, C.P., Vicknasingam B.K., Mansor, S.M. (2015) Social-functioning of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) users in Malaysia. J Psychoactive Drugs, 47 (2), 125-131.
  15. Singh, D., Müller C.P., Vicknasingam B.K. (2014) Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) dependence, withdrawal symptoms and craving in regular users. Drug Alcohol Depend., 139, 132-137.
  16. Singh, D., Chawarski, M.C., Schottenfeld, R., Vicknasingam, B. (2013) Substance abuse and HIV situation in Malaysia. J Food Drug Anal., 21 (4), S46-51.

Selected Reports (from 2010)

  1. Most-at-risk children in central Kuala Lumpur; What do they think and know about risk? Report for UNICEF Malaysia (2013) Assisted principal investigator in data collection and data analysis.
  2. A study of most-at-risk women in urban Kuala Lumpur. Report for UNICEF Malaysia (2013) Assisted principal investigator in data collection and data analysis.
  3. Prepared report for ‘Kertas Cadangan Bagi Membangunkan Model Holistik Terbaik Program Pendidikan Inklusif Untuk Malaysia’. Report prepared for Ministry of Education (2013).
  4. The informal use of Kratom among the local masses in the northern states of Malaysia (2010) Assisted principal investigator in data collection and drafting manuscript for publication.

Published Abstract

  1. Cinosi, E., Simonato, P., Singh, D., Bersani, F.S., Piazzon, G., Lupi, M., Marini, S., Kapitány-Fövény, M., Farkas, J., Demetrovics, Z., Roman-Urrestarazu, A., Vicknasingam, B., Li, J.H., Yu, W.J., Santacroce, R., Acciavatti, T., Martinotti, G., Di Giannantonio, M., Corazza, O. (2016) A comprehensive overview on Kratom. European Psychiatry, 33, S354-S355.

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Centre for Drug Research,
Universiti Sains Malaysia,
11800 USM, Penang, Malaysia.
Tel : +604-658 3444/ +604-653 3888 Ext. 3272  |   Faks : +604-656 8669
E-mail :  dir_cdr@usm.my