Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) underlined the need to address drug abuse in North Sumatra as a prerequisite to resolving the wider drug problem nationally.

The agency's deputy for prevention, Richard Nainggolan, explained that this is because North Sumatra has the highest number of drug abusers in Indonesia, with 1.5 million people in the province affected by drug abuse as of 2019.

"When we resolve the drug abuse issue in North Sumatra, we certainly can resolve the drug abuse issue in Indonesia," Nainggolan affirmed at an anti-drug workshop in Medan, North Sumatra, which was followed online from here on Tuesday.

He said that drug abusers in North Sumatra account for one-third of all drug abuse victims nationwide.

The deputy further said that the prevalence of drug abusers in Indonesia remains at 1.73 percent of the country's population, which is below the global average.

"Nevertheless, Indonesia's drug abusers numbers continue to be concerning," he noted.

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He highlighted that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) declared a "drug abuse emergency" in Indonesia in 2015. He then expressed believes that drug-related crimes are extraordinary crimes like corruption and terrorism.

"(The President) also continues encouraging us to address the drug abuse issues to ensure more residents are rescued from it," he added.

According to Nainggolan, to address drug abuse, all parties should build community resilience through the Drug-Free Village program initiated by the BNN since community resilience is as important as personal resilience.

He expressed confidence that anti-drug measures would reach all parts of Indonesia when carried out from the village level, the lowest rung of Indonesia's regional administration system.

"We should carry out measures to make villages vulnerable (in terms of drug abuse cases) no longer vulnerable, and we should ensure villages not vulnerable remain safe from it," Nainggolan added.

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Translator: Bagus Ahmad R, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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