Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) in East Nusa Tenggara has collaborated with Catholic churches in the province to strengthen its war on drugs to prevent local residents from getting dragged into drug addiction.

According to Head of BNN-East Nusa Tenggara Office Nurhady Yuwono, local churches are so powerful institutions regarding the fight againt drugs because they have various programs for youngsters and young adults.

By taking their strategic and important position into account, the BNN is keen to strengthen its collaborative efforts to save members of young generation from drug addiction, he said.

Speaking to local journalists after signing a memorandung of understanding with Kupang Archbishop Petrus Turang on Friday, Yuwono said the BNN had several programs for helping create drug-free communities.

To this end, the agency collaborates with churches and other religious institutions, schools, universities, and other stakeholders, he said, adding that the number of drug users in East Nusa Tenggara is relatively small.

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Last year, there were 26 drug addicts being rehabilitated while this year, there are 13 rehabilitated drug addicts, Yuwono said.

The BNN implements a community-based intervention program in an endeavor to assist the rehabilitated drug addicts, and to monitor those who have returned to community life, he said.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers view Indonesia as a potential market owing to its huge population and millions of drug users.

Drug trade in the nation is valued at nearly Rp66 trillion.

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People from all strata of society are falling prey to drugs in the country regardless of their socio-economic and professional backgrounds.

Over the past few decades, the Indonesian government has taken harsh punitive action against drug barons found smuggling and trading drugs in the country.

The BNN has sought capital punishment for those involved in drug trade in the country.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has also issued shoot-at-sight orders against drug kingpins.

However, this has failed to deter drug traffickers, who continue to treat Indonesia as a main market, prompting Indonesian law enforcers to step up vigilance against them.

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Translator: K.Kaha, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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