Crystalline methamphetamine now Indonesia's "primary illicit drugs threat"

20 February 2013 - The manufacture, trafficking and use of crystalline methamphetamine is now the greatest illicit drug threat facing Indonesia, according to a jointly-published report released today by the National Narcotics Board of Indonesia (BNN) and the UNODC Global Synthetics Monitoring: Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programme.

Crystalline methamphetamine seizures rose 79 per cent in 2011 to 1,161 kg from the 649 kg seized in 2010, according to the report, Indonesia Situation Assessment on Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (2013). And while cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Indonesia, crystalline methamphetamine use has expanded continually during the past several years, particularly among labourers, students and commercial sex workers.

"Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) use - particularly crystalline methamphetamine - has expanded swiftly throughout Indonesia, both geographically and demographically," said Mr. Leik Boonwaat, UNODC Deputy Regional Representative, East Asia and the Pacific, at the report launch today in Jakarta. "The expansion of the ATS trade and the high profits it generates - and the increasing involvement of transnational organized criminal groups in this trade - pose a considerable threat to the security, health and the welfare of the Indonesian population."

Of the estimated 3.7 to 4.7 million drug users in Indonesia in 2011, one in three (about 1.2 million) used crystalline methamphetamine and one in five (some 950,000) used ecstasy during the year.

The proportion of drug-related arrests involving crystalline methamphetamine in Indonesia continues to rise. In 2011, arrests related to crystalline methamphetamine accounted for about 62% of all drug-related arrests, compared with 53% in 2010 and 38% in 2009. Nearly 77% of all women arrested for drug-related offenses in 2011 were arrested for crystalline methamphetamine. In addition, in 2011, ATS users accounted for nearly half (46%) of all drug treatment demand in 2011 (29% for crystalline methamphetamine and 17% for ecstasy).

At present, most of the ATS used in Indonesia is supplied by domestic manufacture, with remaining quantities continuing to be trafficked into the country by transnational criminal networks. As ATS use expands, the threat of ATS manufacturers relocating operations close to emerging ATS markets is considerable.

The large number of potential drug users and the high ATS prices in Indonesia relative to other countries in South-East Asia continue to attract international drug trafficking networks to smuggle large quantities of ATS into Indonesia.

"Knowing is the first step in responding," said Mr. Boonwaat, "To formulate a strategic response to the ATS problem we need knowledge; a framework of laws; the technical capacity to respond; and regional cooperation among law enforcement.  Law enforcement and public health officials must form a network to effectually respond to the network of transnational organized criminals operating in our region."

Related information:

UNODC Indonesia office

Global SMART programme