Pubdate: Fri, 10 Dec 1999
Source: Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
Copyright: The Jakarta Post
Contact:  P.O. Box 85 Palmerah Jakarta 11001
Fax: (62) (21) 5492685
Author: Chris W. Green


I suspect that few of us would deny the sincerity of the prominent lawyer
who is frequently reported calling for tougher action against drug abusers.
And many will also sympathize with his response to such abuse in his own
family, in sending his son for treatment in Malaysia.

However, some might join me in questioning the justice of calling for such
strong action against those who are unable to take advantage of such
expensive solutions. We are frequently reminded that there are hundreds of
thousands of misusers of drugs in Jakarta alone.

However, treatment facilities at most offer places for 1,000 of those. The
cost of most of these are well beyond the pocket of most families wishing
to provide the degree of support given by our lawyer -- and clearly the
overseas option is out of the question for most.

Would it not be more appropriate to advocate for the establishment of many
more treatment facilities, much more training of counselors, an explosion
of support for those already hooked by this frightful addiction, rather
than just call for more harassment of such people?

Such action will only drive them out of the community, underground, where
outreach to them will be even more difficult and activities to reduce the
harmful effects of their drug use (such as infection by HIV) become almost

I think many would feel that this would be a more humane response from one
who has personally experienced the effects of this terrible epidemic within
his own family...

Chris W. Green, Jakarta
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D