While Indonesian President Jokowi justifies his stance of executing drug traffickers citing that Drug abuse has been a recurrent problem with the nation, NGOs and experts believe whether that would help the country reduce the same.
Ironically the drug racket in Indonesia has been carried out for centuries with no end to the cycle.
Government statistics reveal that drug abuse kill an average of 40 people in Indonesia every day. 2015 Reports also suggest that 5.8 million people are drug addicts in the country.
Hence, it would not be wrong to say that Indonesia has become one of the biggest international hubs for drug peddling. With considerable number of youngsters and growing unemployment, the problem magnifies.
'Drugged' in history
Troels Vester, an expert at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said there were 3.7 million to 4.7 million drug users in Indonesia in 2011. On asking him what were the most common types of drug used, he said about 1.2 million of them used crystalline methamphetamine and 950,000 consumed ecstasy.
Cannabis user amount to an estimated 2.8 million users and heroin addicts were roughly 110,000.
Incidentally, Indonesia's National Narcotics Board (BNN) also backs Vester's account saying there are currently 5.6 million drug users in the country. Drug abuse stems in the easy availability of the same.
While Cannabis have long been in use, the latter half of 1990s, Heroin injections were popular. This, in turn, increased HIVs. Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) was one of the other drugs that became increasingly available and thus widely used.
The Indonesian government rehabilitates thousands of drug users every year. However, the means are not foolproof as they date back to the years when they had started.
Psychosocial treatment, counselling, self-help group therapy, needle syringe programs, HIV counselling and testing, including the provision of anti-retroviral therapy for PLHIV (people living with HIV) are some of them.
While the Indonesia President is trying to crack down on the drug mafia, there is an increasing necessity to intensify the tracking the local manufacturing units.
Moreover, the porous border that it shared with New Guinea, Malaysia, east Timor needs to be strenthened. Maritime neighbors like Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore also play a huge role in drug trafficking.
As is evident from the recent executions of 8 drug traffickers, 7 being foreigners (2 Australian, 1 Filipino). However, condemning the act were the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the United Nations who condemned the death penalty, especially at a time when the traffickers were rehabilitated.