The House of Representatives passed the anti-narcotics bill into law Monday amid criticism from anti-drug groups that the newly passed law will not help rehabilitate drug addicts.
“This law classifies drug addicts as criminals and therefore subjects them to criminal charges, while doctors have said that drug addiction is a curable disease,” the Indonesian Coalition for Drug Policy Reform (ICDPR) coordinator Asmin Fransisca told reporters outside the House’ plenary session hall.
“The law should have recognized that a proper solution to drug addiction is to empower drug addicts, not to punish them as criminals.”
Article 55 of the law stipulates that parents of underage addicts who fail to report their child’s addiction to authorities will be subject to a Rp 1 million (US$100) fine and a maximum of six months in prison.
The newly passed law replaces the old law endorsed in 1997.
Asmin also said the law transferred the job of fighting illegal drug trafficking from the government to society as stipulated by Article 108.
“The article, however, does not clearly elaborate on what kind of civil participation is needed to fight the war against drug trafficking,” she said.
“Without clear regulations, the law is open to many forms of exploitation by civil groups, including acts of vigilantism.”
Asmin also condemned an article that regulates the death penalty for drug users.
“Death penalties are not in line with the purpose of modern criminal charges that aim to rehabilitate a person rather than punish them for their actions,” she said.
“Basically, I believe this law is not in line with the basic principles of human rights.”
Meanwhile, Justice and Human Rights Minister Andi Matalatta said during his speech the law was aimed at saving younger generations from drug abuse.
“This bill has been deliberated for the last four years and it is has finally been passed into law.
“It will be essential in the fight against drug trafficking,” he said.
“Younger generations will benefit greatly from this bill.
“We need to strengthen our regulation of drug abuse, because trafficking networks have become increasingly sophisticated, both abroad and at home.”
In January 2009, there were more than 27,000 drug users in Indonesia, according to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN).
The number includes 12,689 users above 29 years of age, 6,790 users between the ages of 25 and 29, 5,720 users between the ages of 20 and 24, 1,747 between the ages of 16 and 19, and 109 users below the age of 16.
There are 24,989 male users and 2,067 female users.
Senior high school students rank the highest, with 17,503 users, followed by 6,017 junior high school students, 2,866 elementary school students and 669 university students. (hdt)
Article 55 of the law stipulates that parents of underage addicts who fail to report their child’s addiction to the authorities will be subject to a Rp 1 million (US$100) fine and a maximum of six months in prison.