A “drug emergency”– Government must revise laws

Raising the profile of narcotics awareness. (photo: IO/Dan)

IO, Jakarta The recent discovery of many smuggled narcotics and other drugs from China and other countries shows that Indonesia is in fact facing a “drug emergency”. Previously smuggled by air and sea in mere gram quantities, drugs are now arriving in tons. If these smugglers are not dealt with firmly, we might lose an entire generation.

Head of the PR and Community Information Bureau of the Police’s PR Division, Police Brig. Gen. Dedy Prasetyo, drug abuse is now on the rise. Non-medical use, which cause addiction and fatal effects from nerve damage to death, has become widespread. “Drugs and narcotics are the State’s enemies. The Police continue to make drug-related arrests. Drug eradication requires a synergy among stake­holders, i.e. the people and law enforcement. It is a serious threat that we need to deal with firmly,” he said during the “Reflection of 74 Years of Indonesia’s Independence in Narcotics Eradication” discussion held in Jakarta. “We are concerned with current conditions, as drugs are mostly targeted towards our young. Dealers may come from any group – academicians, students, public figures, etc.,” Dedy added.

Some important figures in the discussion include the Director of Narcotics Crime of the Police’s Criminal Division, Police Brig. Gen. Eko Daniyanto, narcotics activist musician Oppie Andaresta, and Sukmawati Soekarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia’s first president.

National Anti-Narcotics Movement (Gerakan Nasional Anti Narkotika – “Granat”) founder Hendri Yosodiningrat stated that most of drug users are 25 years or older. They are mostly celebrities. There are many reasons why a person uses drugs, starting from socializing with the wrong crowd in the metropolitan area, depression and stress due to high demands of one’s profession, to just seeking some kind of sensation in life.

Therefore, drug cases must be investigated by making deep background check of drug users. We must determine according to law whether they are part of a network or not. “We need to make sure that we know the issue deeply before we can decide whether to rehabilitate users. This threat has entered the framework of the Nation. We stand to lose an entire generation if we do not resolve this immediately,” he said

Hendri further stated that rehabilitating first-time drug offenders is not the best way. “This is why I have suggested to the Government and the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) to revise the Narcotics Law,” he said.

Former Head of the National Narcotics Agency (Badan Narkotika Nasional – “BNN) for the 2012-2015 term, Police Comm. Gen. (Ret.) Dr. Anang Iskandar, stated that the amount of narcotics entering Indonesia within the past three years are simply amazing. “Narcotics distribution in Indonesia increases year after year. They enter through the sea, because Indonesia has such a wide marine area that international narcotics network can get in freely if they are careful,” he said.

The threat of abuse among the young generation is parallel with President Joko Widodo’s primary focus of development in his second term, i.e. to build up well-qualified Indonesian human resources. Dr. Anang further stated that narcotics enter Indonesia for mostly business reasons. The fact that it has the potential of weakening our future generation is merely unfortunate collateral damage for the dealers. Therefore, social dissemination of information as a preventive measure of narcotics use is necessary. He further echoed Brig. Gen. Dedy’s statement that narcotics are an enemy of the State. (Dan)