Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - North Sumatra Police Chief Insp. Gen. Agung Setya Imam Effendi appealed to university students and community members to build collective awareness of the dangers of drug abuse and addiction for Indonesia's future.

"The trafficking of drugs triggers people to commit crimes. Some 65 percent of those committing crimes are drug users," Effendi stated at Santo Thomas Catholic University's public lecture session in Medan on Tuesday.

Being aware of the impact of harmful drug use on the nation's efforts to create a well-developed and drug-free Indonesia in 2045, Effendi affirmed that the North Sumatra police continue their drug awareness campaign in the community.

In this regard, the North Sumatra police are striving to make illicit drugs a common enemy in the community, he stated, adding that the public lecture session would help build the people's collective awareness.

The trafficking of drugs continues to pose serious threats to North Sumatra Province, despite the police's ongoing crackdown on drug traffickers and offenders.

From January to mid-March this year, the North Sumatra police confirmed that they had seized 209.4 kg of narcotics, 211.5 kg of crystal methamphetamine, 59,175 ecstasy pills, and several marijuana plants.

ANTARA reported earlier that domestic and transnational drug dealers consider Indonesia to be a potential market due to its vast population and widespread drug use.

The value of the drug trade in the country is estimated to have reached nearly Rp66 trillion (around US$4.2 billion), with the number of drug trafficking cases continuing to surge.

According to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), North Sumatra is the third most vulnerable province in Indonesia when it comes to drug trafficking and related crimes.

About 80 percent of illicit drugs reaching North Sumatra are smuggled by sea, the agency noted.

Regarding the number of drug users in Indonesia, a joint survey conducted by BNN and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2019 pegged the number of drug users in Indonesia at over 3.4 million.

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 users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana, and other types of addictive drugs can belong to any community and socioeconomic and cultural background.

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Translator: M.Sahbainy N, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Anton Santoso
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