Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) - While the government has pinned its hopes on the youth to help Indonesia beat the fierce competition among nations in the current era of disruption, the nation's youth are wrangling with a grave problem: drug abuse and addiction.

This challenging reality was confirmed by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences' (LIPI's) joint survey in 2019, which revealed that there were over 3.4 million drug users in Indonesia.

The survey conducted in 34 provinces indicated that about 180 out of every 10 thousand Indonesians in the age group of 15 to 64 years were addicted to drugs.

The government is well aware of this alarming threat of drug abuse and addiction. Since his first leadership term, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has even been reminding the nation of the grave impacts of drug consumption on Indonesia.

Users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs come from different communities and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, data has shown.

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Drug users and drug dealers include even university students, as has been observed in several cases in Jakarta, East Java, and North Sumatra.

In July 2020, for instance, the South Jakarta Metropolitan Police nabbed seven members of a drug syndicate for selling dried cannabis to university students in the West and South Jakarta areas over the course of a year.

The suspects belonged to a university network of drug syndicates who sold the illicit drugs to students directly and through an online service, South Jakarta Deputy Police chief, Adjunct Sen. Coms. Choiron El Atiq, said.

Three of the seven suspects were students of a university in the Meruya neighborhood, West Jakarta, while four others were identified as an "ojek" driver, a university graduate, and two workers.

The "ojek" driver, identified as AS, transported the marijuana packages to consumers.

The suspects told police investigators that they had sold half a kilogram of dried marijuana to targeted students. They had sold 5 grams of marijuana for Rp300 thousand, Atiq revealed.

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In June this year, East Java police seized 2.8 kilograms (kg) of dried marijuana from four suspected drug dealers, including two university students.

The suspects were identified by their initials as BO (29), AW (30), IS (24), and IM (24), according to Jember Deputy Police chief Commissioner Kadek Ary Mahardika.

IS resided in West Kalimantan province, while IM was a resident of East Kalimantan. On the day they were arrested, both were still registered as students at a private university in Malang city, East Java.

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Four months after a drug ring in Jember district and Malang city was uncovered, the BNN-North Sumatra Office conducted a drug raid at the University of Sumatera Utara (USU) campus area on October 9, 2021.

According to the BNN-North Sumatra Office head, Brig.Gen.Toga Habinsaran Panjaitan, the agency's officers caught 47 people during the raid at the university's Faculty of Humanities.

However, only 31 of the 47 people tested positive for consuming marijuana, including 14 active students and six graduates of USU, he said in a statement that ANTARA accessed from USU's official website.

The BNN officers apprehended JHS alias Jon, a graduate of USU's Faculty of Humanities, for having allegedly supplied the marijuana, Panjaitan said.

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Jon told BNN investigators that he had obtained the dried cannabis from DM alias Dinda (a woman). Based on his confession, BNN officers then arrested DM and her boyfriend, identified as FAY, on October 10, he said.

In response to the case, USU deputy rector I, Edy Ikhsan, said the rectorate is committed to fighting drug abuse and addiction in the campus area.

The strong commitment had evidently been shown by the university's rectorate's synergistic coordination with the BNN-North Sumatra Office to crack down on drug-traffickers, Ikhsan said.

The cases of drug abuse and addiction involving university students and graduates as shown in Jakarta, Malang (East Java), and Medan (North Sumatra) seem to be just the tip of the iceberg.

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To deal with the alarming threat of illicit drugs, the central and regional governments, related law enforcement agencies, universities, and communities must work synergistically to save university students.

As part of well-educated elements of society, university students are expected to be the backbone of Indonesia's endeavors to achieve its ambition and emerge as one of the world's developed nations by 2045.

President Widodo himself sent a clear message to all young Indonesians during the virtual commemoration of the 93rd anniversary of Youth Pledge Day on Thursday.

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He expressed the hope that members of the nation's young generation -- university students included -- would win the global competition with other nations in the era of disruption.

To enable them to win the fierce competition, they must grow up in a healthy and innovative environment, obtain equal access to quality education, and remain protected from drug abuse and addiction.

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2021