Overdose Deaths Still A Big Problem in Indonesia
Surabaya. The number of fatalities in Indonesia stemming from drug use and overdoses remains high, despite the lack of documentation, a social worker has said.
Data on overdose cases at Jakarta’s Cipto Mangunkusumo (RSCM) in 1999 listed 61 fatalities.
“It’s true that we don’t have recent, valid data regarding OD cases across Indonesia but that doesn’t mean the number of overdose cases that led to deaths is small,” said Ferri Zul, of the Brotherhood for Indonesian Drug Victims, who was attending a workshop on how to handle overdose cases in Surabaya on Thursday.
In Jakarta, Fauzi Masjhur, the head of Jakarta’s task force for drug rehabilitation, said two or three people are dying in the capital every day because of overdoses.
Adj. Comr. Aloysius Suprijadi, chief of Taman Sari Police in South Jakarta, confirmed those numbers.
“We handle an increasing number of overdose cases every month,” he said.
Ferri attributed the high rate of death from overdoses to the public’s lack of knowledge on how to handle victims, and delayed medical assistance.
He said that people are afraid to deal with the police, so they refrain from calling for help.
Ferri said that a person who abandons someone in desperate need of medical attention can be imprisoned for up to two years. The law also punishes people, for up to five years, who deliberately abandon an overdose victim.
“We want to publicize this [law] to the public, that it’s an obligation to help OD victims,” Ferri said. “They will be dealing with the law if they flee because abandonment could lead to the victim’s death.”
Dr. Grace Irawati, from a therapy clinic at Menur mental hospital in Surabaya, said that when coming across an overdose victim, members of the public should take the victim to a hospital emergency room as soon as possible.
Members of the public can dial 118 or take the victim themselves, she added.
“If trained, a member of the public can also perform first aid by determining whether or not the victim was still breathing,” the doctor said.
“Second, clear the airway from anything that might be clogging it,” Grace added.
“For instance foam that comes out of the victim’s mouth, or maybe the victim’s tongue got pushed to the back of the throat.”