Indonesia’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has launched an anti-drugs awareness campaign with a ‘Smash on Drugs’ International Table Tennis Tournament. The event, held at Udayana University in Badung on Sunday 21st June was operand by the Head of the BNN General Petrus Reinhard Golose.
General Golose took the opportunity to speak to the press about Bali’s strict policies on drugs and reiterated that the Bali is the Island of the Gods, not of drugs.
General Golose joined table tennis players for a publicity game and spoke to the press about Indonesia’s unwavering zero tolerance on drugs. When asked if the BNN. would consider revisiting legislation regarding the legalization of marijuana, General Golose made it very clear that Indonesia would not be influenced by countries such as Thailand which are looking to legalize marijuana for personal use.
He said ‘We stated together from Bali that we have zero tolerance for narcotics. In Indonesia there is no discussion of legalizing marijuana, there may be countries that have legalized it but there are still many countries that do not legalize it…So I reiterate once again, that I remain consistent in not legalizing marijuana’.
In Indonesia, all forms of marijuana and marijuana-related products are illegal, including CBD which has become legalized in many parts of the world. Products using hemp fibers, oils, or edible seeds are also banned. Indonesia has one of the most strict drug policies in the world.
There are 61 substances listed on the Indonesian list of banned narcotics and in the eyes of the law, there is little difference between the type of drug and the intended use. Being caught in possession of drugs leads to almost guaranteed imprisonment and fines.
In recent weeks Bali has been cracking down even harder on drug use and supply across the island unearthing several scandals. A serving military officer was found in possession of methamphetamine and the son of a serving local government minister was found in possession of significant quantities of marijuana with suspected intent to supply.
The trafficking of drugs is always closely linked to organized and international crime, both of which the Indonesian government is proactive in stamping out. During his speech at the Smash on Drugs event, General Golose warned both Indonesian residents and international tourists about the BNN’s zero-tolerance of drug abuse.
During his speech, General Golose explained how the prevalence of drugs in Bali has increased throughout the pandemic. He shared how the number of drug users known to the authorities increased from 1.8% to 1.95%. Despite the statistics positioning Bali well below the global average, it is still considered too high for General Golose and his teams.
He said “I declare that Bali is not only the Island of Gods, and the Island of Tolerance, but we declare that Bali is the Island of Zero Tolerance of Drug Abuse…I warn drug dealers that there is zero-tolerance for them if they wish to expand their business in Bali’.
When asked how the drugs came to be in Indonesia Golose answered that Indonesia is not a place for the production of narcotics, although considerable marijuana crops are growing throughout Indonesia. Hard drugs are thought to enter the country from neighboring nations in South East Asia.
‘Narcotics goods that have entered Indonesia so far have come from the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle’. The Golden Crescent is made up of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, whereas the Golden Triangle is the shared borders along the Ruak and Mekong Rivers in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.
When explaining why he chose a table tennis tournament to be the novelty point of the awareness campaign Golose explained that the BNN was working to implement ‘soft power’ campaigns. The BNN chose table tennis as a medium for starting conversations as it is the most popular sport in villages across Bali. The Smash on Drugs campaign focuses on drug irradiation through prevention, community empowerment, and rehabilitation programs.
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