Located on the Trans-Sumatra Highway, those trading and transporting marijuana from Aceh Province will usually pass through Riau. It is also vulnerable to transnational drug crimes due to its geographical proximity with neighboring countries, he said.
As revealed in his speech draft read out by Head of the Riau provincial administration's Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) division, Irianto, in a vocational upgrading program, Riau Governor Syamsuar said local people need to be empowered.
The empowerment program for the people was important to ensure they are not ensnared by the drug rings, he said.
In Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau Province, Kampong Dalam is a village in Senapelan Subdistrict whose image has been damaged by those involved in drug crimes. The image needs changing to ensure residents do not suffer from its negative impact, he said.
"Kampong Dalam which is located on the bank of Siak River is always perceived as a nest of those involved in trafficking and trading drugs. This image must be changed," he said.
In a collective effort to change the image, the Riau provincial government collaborated with three state-owned enterprises to organise an upgrading program for several villagers to enable them to make screen printing, produce souvenirs, and make coffee.
Indonesia remains under grave threat from drug dealers, as several individuals from its working-age population have been embroiled in a vicious circle.
According to the National Narcotics Agency's (BNN's) report, some 50 drug use-related deaths occur in Indonesia. However, their deaths have failed to deter other drug users in the country from consuming these banned substances.
Users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other addictive drugs transcend communities and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
Hence, Indonesia is perceived by both domestic and transnational drug dealers as a potential market due to its huge population and millions of drug users. The value of the drug trade in the country is estimated to have reached nearly Rp66 trillion.
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