Despite major arrests and drug busts, the scourge of narcotic abuse in Bali continues to grow largely unabated. Bali has become a favored target for the operations of international drug syndicates.
As reported by DenPost, in 2011, the estimated number of active narcotics users on the Island was put at 63,734.
The Head of the Badung Regency office of the National Narcotics Enforcement Agency (BNN-Badung), I Gusti Suryasa, said on Wednesday, October 9, 2013: “The more tourists that come to Bali impacts the increase of drugs in circulation. What’s more, there are tourists that come to Bali as narcotics couriers. Everything has its good and bad side, including tourism in Bali.”
Research by BNN and the University of Indonesia estimated 63,734 narcotics abusers in Bali in 2011.
That study said illegal drug use was centered in the Kuta area of Bali. Suyasa said drug use is linked to the many activities and housing options catering to foreigners in that region.
Continuing, Suyasa said: “The appearance of a Columbian-Bali connection and other drug syndicates serve as proof that Bali has become a target for international narcotic traffickers. Cocaine and heroin is the preference of foreigners, while locals prefer methamphetamines. At the same time, there is intense competition by domestic drug networks eager to establish networks in Bali.”
Suyasa, who once headed the narcotics division of the Bali Police, explained that while in the past Bali only served as a transit point for drugs destined for Australia. Now, however, Bali has become an important and sought after distribution point for the international drug trade. “They (the drug syndicates) will undertake a number of efforts to widen their ‘black’ business in Bali. If not handled and anticipated, our coming generation will be under threat. This is the job of BNN: to suppress the distribution of drugs in the Badung Regency,” he said.
Referring to the BNN Program of “Drug Free Indonesia in 2015,” Suyasa said the goal cannot be “zero drugs” but, rather, the suppression of narcotics use. This is being done by urine tests at government agencies and schools, and creating anti-drug groups and drug-free zones. “Zero drugs are an impossibility. Our job is the save the coming generation from the threat of narcotics,” said Suyasa.
The head of BNN-Badung urged the public to be wise in their personal struggles against narcotics. He also said members of society must be aware of those who associate with other members of their family. Suyasa added the warning: “I once dealt with a family whose children had become addicts. The children could not be rehabilitated and the (family) company’s wealth was depleted. The kids died in the end. This is the danger of narcotics abuse.”
Suyasa said BNN is working to rehabilitate narcotic users. In his view, punishment does little to deter narcotics use and, in many cases, only adds to the problem. Putting narcotics users behind bars with other narcotic users only helps to widen distribution networks.
“BNN has prepared rehabilitation centers for drug users available without cost. There are fixed criteria to be allowed to join a rehabilitation program,” said Suyasa.
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