Number of drug users increases in Indonesia despite severe punishment

Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The National Anti Drug Agency (BNN) said the number of drug users in the country has continued to increase despite severe punishment.

The number has reached an alarming level of around 5.9 million users, the agency said on Tuesday.

In an informal meeting here BNN chief police Comr.Gen. Budi Waseso said the number surged from 4.2 million in June 2015.

Budi said North Sumatra has the fourth largest number of drug users after Jakarta, East Java and South Sulawesi.

Drug users are no longer concentrated in urban areas but also in rural areas, he said.

President Joko Widodo himself has said that the country is in a condition of drug emergency.

More alarming is that many school students have also become addicts that drug could permanently damage their brain nerve, Budi said.

Acting Governor of North Sumatra HT Erry Nuradi said drug users and dealers dominated prison inmates in Indonesia.

Nuradi said the country may suffer a lost generation unless full support is given for the fight against drug

Budi called drug dealers state enemies that should be dealt with without parond.

He said BNN vowed to stamp out drug dealers from the country saying no mercy for drug trafficking.

He said the government should not consider pardon for state enemies who would bring the country to disaster.

BNN has set a series of actions to be taken against drug dealers without pardon.

He said BNN is preparing a special troop that could move fast and tactically in pursuing members of drug syndicate, he said.

The military would be involved in the plan to make use of the special and certain capability of the military, he said.

By combining trained police and the military officers, the fight against drug trafficking would be more effective, he said.

Tough measure is necessary against drug dealers as "they are wilder than wild animals," he said.

Involvement of the military is needed as the military has better facility especially in dealing with drug smugglers in the sea, he said.

He said he would seek legal support from the House of Representatives to ensure that BNN is saved from being accused of violating human rights.

Earlier this year, more than ten of drug convicts mostly foreigners had been executed drawing international protest.

President Joko Widodo has said he would not give clemency for drug convicts.(*)