Indonesia’s narcotics agency says there are 3.6 million drug users in the country, marijuana most popular

Image for illustration purposes only. Photo: Pixabay
Image for illustration purposes only. Photo: Pixabay

Indonesia may have some of the harshest drug laws in the world, but new data showed that millions still consume illegal narcotics in the country.

According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), in 2019, there are 3.6 million drug users in Indonesia, up 0.03 percent from the previous year.

Of those, BNN says the highest percentage represented marijuana use.

“Number one in terms of most users is marijuana with 63 percent. So we’re narrowing our focus [on marijuana], such as in Aceh where we have recently demolished marijuana fields,” BNN chief Heru Winarko told reporters in Jakarta yesterday, as quoted by Suara.

Though Aceh is best known for being the only province in Indonesia with special autonomy to explicitly enact and enforce sharia-based law, it is also known as being one of the largest marijuana producers in the country (ganja having been commonly used as a cooking ingredient in the region long before it was classified as illegal narcotic).

BNN says it has met with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD to discuss steps to combat the spread of illegal narcotics in Indonesia.

Executing drug traffickers, for which Indonesia has been criticized internationally, is unlikely to be an effective measure. In recent years, executing traffickers to battle what the government described as Indonesia’s growing “drug emergency” seems to have done nothing to stop the increasing number of drug users in the country (according to the government’s own data). Many experts argue that the real problem is in fact the rampant corruption in Indonesia’s prisons, legal system and law enforcement agencies.

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