Indonesian drug policy study visit to Portugal

On September 8 - 15, 2012 Programme Manager from Rumah Cemara Ardhany Suryadarma together with 27 representatives from Indonesian National Narcotic Board, Indonesian National Police, Coordinating Ministry of Politics, Law and Security, Ministry of Social Affairs, National Drug User Network, National AIDS Commission, National Narcotic Board, Office of Attorney General, Indonesian Parliament, Ministry of Health, SIKIB, HCPI, UNODC, IKAI and JANGKAR visited Portugal with drug policy study visit aiming to study Portugal experience and best practices in drug policy and diversion issues.

In 1998, Portugal’s government realized that drug users’ criminalisation does not solve the problem of drug abuse. Instead in many cases, criminalisation to those who are at early stage of drug use has led to a contra-productive result. In 1999, Portugal created Drug National Strategy with 9 humanistic principles that indicate that those who use drugs are having disease and they have the rights to access medical service. Drug use was no longer viewed as violation of criminal law, but as an issue of administrative law, and therefore administrative sanction and therapeutic approach are the solutions. Portugal set up the Commission that provides opportunities for drug users to have early, specific, and appropriate treatment based on their needs. Cases handled by the Commission are based on residence, not the scene of crime. The police has the right to arrest drug users, but only in order to find information, which will then be delivered to the commission. Policy changes were done based on best practices in providing health services in Portugal that have helped to achieve the following positive changes: HIV prevalence among IDUs is at 7%, drug-related crime and number of early drug use cases has decreased, law enforcement focused more on disclosure of network of narcotics syndicate.

During the visit Indonesian representatives attended Lisbon prison, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, SICAD, Lisbon Dissuasion Committee, School of the Criminal police, Treatment Center Taipas, the National Parliament and National HIV Programme.

The drug policy study visit has helped Indonesians to develop short term, medium term and long term recommendations to change Indonesian Drug Policy, namely:

Short Term (October - December 2012)

  1. Conduct symposium about “Diversion of Policy for addicts, abusers, and victim of drug abuse to be placed in drug addiction rehabilitation”.
  2. Support Indonesia National Police Department in finishing the two regulations regarding : overcoming drug abuse and HIV cases inside Indonesia National Police Department.
  3. Coordinate Ministry for Politics, Law, and Security, and Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare work together and encourage each institution to manage drug addicts from investigation to court and rehabilitation through creation of guidance.
  4. Set up strategies for new initiative regarding obligatory report and rehabilitation referral based on judges’ verdict.
  5. Set up budget for 2013 about obligatory report and treatment of drug addiction.
  6. Create experts panel to review implementation of Law no. 35 and its derivatives , and give recommendation Assessment of the needs to revise Government Regulation no. 25 regarding Obligatory Report.
  7. Assess the needs to develop learning centres.

Medium Term (2013)

  1. Develop an integrated, inter-sector, and bottom-up information system (from district to national level).
  2. Build common perception about how to handle drug addicts, abuser, and victim of drug abuse.
  3. Evaluate of the implementation of Law no. 35, Government Regulation, etc.

Long Term (2014-2015)

  1. Amend articles regarding criminalisation of drug addicts, abuser, and victim of drug abuse.