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Bali to have drug rehabilitation center

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

Bali National Narcotics Agency (BNN) has agreed to establish a drug rehabilitation center in Bangli regency, the second of its kind in the country after Lido in Sukabumi, West Java.

Ketut Budiarta, chairman of BNN’s Bali office, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that the planned center would be constructed next to Bangli Psychiatric Hospital, some 80 kilometers northeast of Denpasar.

“The master plan is ready. The center will have 144 rooms and other facilities and we hope we can start building it in 2012,” he said.

The detailed construction plans would be finished soon, he added, while funding would come from the BNN.

Drug rehabilitation centers are urgently needed to house drug users who need medical and psychological treatment.

Currently, drug uses are treated like criminals and are processed in criminal courts and sent to prison when they are found guilty of consuming illegal drugs.

According to Law No. 35/2009 on Narcotics, judges may order rehabilitation for users instead of sending them to prison as punishment.

However, Indonesia has only the Lido rehabilitation center in Sukabumi, West Java.

“The establishment of a planned drug rehabilitation center in Bali is urgently needed to ensure that drug users get free treatment and rehabilitation as stated in the law,” Budiarta added.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, who is a former BNN chairman, was happy to hear about the plan, saying that drug cases in Bali had sharply increased and involved both locals and foreigners.

BNN’s Bali data reveal that there were 793 drug cases in Bali in 2010. Up until February 2011, there were 125 drug cases on the island.

“We don’t have adequate facilities to rehabilitate or treat drug users. It is inhumane to send them to Kerobokan Penitentiary. When they enter the prison they are drug addicts, but when they leave they will be drug users and traffickers,” Bali Governor Pastika, explained.

It is no secret that prisons and detention centers in Indonesia facilitate lucrative trade in narcotics worth millions of dollars and involve prison officers, inmates and visitors alike.

Bali is an international tourist destination that over the years has developed into a transit place for international drug syndicates.

In Bali, a temporary drug rehabilitation center with very limited facilities can be found in Bangli Psychiatric Hospital.

Made Sugiharta, director of Bangli Psychiatric Hospital, elaborated that the current rehabilitation center in the hospital treated about 100 patients per year.

“Presently we are treating five drug addicts who were sent by the court to be rehabilitated at our premises. There are a lot of inquiries but we cannot accept them [more rehabilitation patients] due to a lack of facilities and staff,” the hospital’s director explained.