Illegal drugs consumed by 5 million Indonesians as of 2012: NGO

Five million Indonesians have reportedly consumed illegal drugs as of 2012, with many of them ending up becoming drug suppliers to satisfy their drug addictions, an NGO says.

Jakarta Community Care Foundation (Kelima) head Bambang Eka Purnama Alam says the lack of awareness among Indonesians about the danger of drug abuse is the main reason for the rampant distribution of narcotics in the country.

"Lots of community members start as drug users and end up becoming drug suppliers," Bambang said on Saturday as quoted by kompas.com.

He said users usually would end up in a rehabilitation center, while suppliers had to face the law.

But it is not uncommon for drug users in the country to go to prison instead of to a rehabilitation center.

Bambang said he hoped to have communities that could help prevent drug users from being addicted and help the addicted heal.

He also expected these communities to be able to fight against a wide drug ring in the country.

On April 24, a man from Bogor, West Java, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempting to smuggle Rp 3 billion (S$409,423) worth of heroin in his stomach.

Drug-smuggling attempts through airports have continued to increase during the past few years. Officers foiled about 50 such attempts in 2011, up from 38 cases in 2010.

The Customs and Excise Directorate Office recorded that drug smuggling attempts via Soekarno-Hatta International Airport were dominated by Malaysian drug syndicates, followed by Thailand and India, with 85 per cent of 59 drug-smuggling attempts foiled this year hailing from Malaysia.

Police have arrested individuals from countries as diverse as Turkey, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Iran, France, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Kenya, Portugal and Italy for allegedly being involved in drug smuggling attempts or drug distribution.

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