Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The recent drug abuse case involving employees of the South Sumatra Provincial Youth and Sports Office has dealt another blow to the fight against narcotics in Indonesia.
The National Narcotic Agency (BNN) Office in the South Sumatra provincial capital of Palembang arrested four people found consuming crystal meth at the Youth and Sports Office on February 20 at around 11.30 p.m. local time.
They were arrested along with a certain quantity of crystal meth, wrapped in transparent plastic and put in a cigarette pack, two bongs and a plastic bottle as evidence. After searching the office, BNN officers nabbed a security guard after making him undergo a urine test and obtaining its results.
This was not the first of its kind case in the province in which personnel who are part of the state apparatus were found involved in drug abuse. In January last year, the South Sumatra provincial police discharged five officers, including four first brigadiers and one brigadier, for consuming and trafficking in drugs.
The arrest of the employees of the South Sumatra Youth and Sports Office on drug charges came a few days after a team of the Armys Strategic Reserve Commands (Kostrads) intelligence battalion searched the Kostrad housing complex in Tanah Kusir, South Jakarta
During the search, eight Kostrad soldiers were found allegedly involved in drug abuse after the team conducted a urine test on 146 soldiers living in the complex.
Chief of the Information Service at the Indonesian Army (TNI AD) Headquarters, Brigadier General M S Fadhilah, said on February 23 that the Army is investigating the involvement of the Kostrad soldiers in the alleged case of drug abuse.
"The investigation is still going on to see the extent of their involvement. Of course, we are waiting for the result of the investigation," he said.
Surely, the Army is very concerned about the legal cases involving its soldiers, he said.
Chief of Kostrads information service, Infantry Colonel Heru Dwi Wahana, did not deny the involvement of several Kostrad soldiers in alleged cases of drug abuse.
"What is clear is that the Kostrad is committed to, and remains consistent in its stand, to combat drugs. We are in the process of implementing internal reforms," he said.
The alleged involvement of employees of the South Sumatra Youth and Sports Office in drug abuse has no doubt drawn strong reaction from many parties, including Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi. Yuddy said all state apparatuses must set a precedent for other people to fight drug abuse rather than getting themselves involved in it.
The government will continue to adopt stern measures against any civil servant found involved in drug abuse, he said.
Yuddy said his ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with BNN to prevent and combat such abuse.
"One of the priorities when it comes to implementing bureaucratic reforms in the area of human resources is upholding discipline and setting a good example for other people. Therefore, we are concerned about the case in Palembang," he emphasized.
It seems that cases of drugs proliferating government agencies had drawn the governments attention.
BIN Chairman Budi Waseso said on February 24, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had ordered the creation of an anti-drug special task force which will be made up of representatives of BNN, relevant ministries, the military and the police.
He said the president felt it necessary to set up the task force as drug abuse in the country has reached an alarming level.
While chairing a limited cabinet meeting on drug eradication and rehabilitation program for drug abuse victims at the presidential office on February 24, the president said drug abuse tops the list of major problems facing the country.
The nation needs to seriously discuss issues related to the fight against illicit circulation of drugs and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
"I want the drug eradication efforts to be stepped up and carried out in a bolder, more aggressive, comprehensive and integrated manner," he said.
Every concerned institution must keep aside its own sectoral ego when working to tackle the problem, he reminded.
"All branches of the government must carry out the fight against drugs together since in my view, it is our number one problem," he pointed out.
Indonesia is in a state of emergency with regard to drug abuse. The number of drug users has reached about 4.5 million, with 1.2 million of them having gone past the point of rehabilitation because of the extreme nature of their cases.
Despite international calls for an end to death penalty, President Jokowi stands firm on his decision not to pardon drug convicts.(*)

Reporter: Suharto
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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