Crystal Meth Use Soaring in Indonesia, Says Latest Report
The manufacture, trafficking and use of crystal methamphetamine is now the greatest illicit drug threat facing Indonesia, according to a jointly published report released on Wednesday by the National Narcotics Agency and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Crystal meth seizures rose 79 percent in 2011 to 1,161 kilograms from the 649 kilograms seized in 2010, according to the report, Indonesia Situation Assessment on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants. And while cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Indonesia, crystal meth use has expanded continually during the past several years, particularly among laborers, students and commercial sex workers.
“Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) use — particularly crystal methamphetamine — has expanded swiftly throughout Indonesia, both geographically and demographically,” Leik Boonwaat, the UNODC deputy regional representative for East Asia and the Pacific, said at the report launch in Jakarta.
“The expansion of the ATS trade and the high profits it generates — and the increasing involvement of transnational organized criminal groups in this trade — pose a considerable threat to the security, health and the welfare of the Indonesian population,” he added.
Of the estimated 3.7 million to 4.7 million drug users in Indonesia in 2011, one in three, or about 1.2 million, used crystal meth and one in five, or some 950,000, used ecstasy during the year.
The proportion of drug-related arrests involving crystal methamphetamine in Indonesia continues to rise.
In 2011, arrests related to the drug accounted for about 62 percent of all drug-related arrests, compared with 53 percent in 2010 and 38 percent in 2009. Nearly 77 percent of all women arrested for drug-related offenses in 2011 were arrested for crystal meth. In addition, in 2011, ATS users accounted for nearly half (46 percent) of all drug treatment demand in 2011, comprising 29 percent for crystal meth and 17 percent for ecstasy.
Most of the ATS used in Indonesia is supplied by domestic manufacturers, with the rest trafficked into the country by transnational criminal networks. As ATS use expands, the threat of ATS manufacturers relocating operations close to emerging ATS markets is considerable, the report warned.
It added the large number of potential drug users and high ATS prices in Indonesia relative to other countries in Southeast Asia continued to attract international drug trafficking networks to smuggle large quantities of ATS into Indonesia.
“Knowing is the first step in responding,” Boonwaat said.
“To formulate a strategic response to the ATS problem we need knowledge; a framework of laws; the technical capacity to respond; and regional cooperation among law enforcement.
“Law enforcement and public health officials must form a network to effectually respond to the network of transnational organized criminals operating in our region,” he added.
Indonesian authorities seized an estimated 2,000 kilograms of methamphetamine last year and have since continued to arrest couriers and dealers carrying large quantities of the drug.
Most recently, police in Jakarta arrested an Iranian national with a kilogram of meth last week.
Earlier this month, officials arrested a man in Tangerang after he received an airmailed package from India containing 2.5 kilograms of meth.