Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Fri, 02/18/2011 12:10 PM | Bali
Drug addicts and ex-users grouped in the Union of Narcotics Victims (IKON) organization have been complaining about a lack of rehabilitation facilities in Bali.
At a Wednesday seminar on “The Urgency of Rehabilitation for Drug Victims” in Denpasar, they urged the government to improve rehabilitation facilities to cope with the increasing number of addicts.
“The rehabilitation facilities are inadequate compared to the growing number of addicts. This shows that the government has little commitment to help drug users,” said IKON activist Made Adi Mantara.
Bali only had one rehabilitation center located at Bangli Mental Hospital, but the state-owned facility closed down in 2008.
“It costs dearly for drug addicts to undergo rehabilitation. Some of them cannot afford it. So where should they go for a treatment?” Adi said.
Undergoing treatment in privately owned rehabilitation centers costs at least Rp 3 million, excluding expenses for detoxification.
Adi said that some drug addicts used to rely on rehabilitation centers assisted by NGOs, but the centers no longer provided treatment due to funding problems.
The only rehabilitation center with complete facilities in the country is located in Bogor, West Java. Managed by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), the center is capable of accommodating 3,000 patients and providing free treatment.
“But the problem is that the patients cannot afford to go there,” Adi said.
In 2010, his organization could only support four drug addicts to undergo treatment there, out of a quota of 10 patients. The number of drug addicts in Bali is predicted to have reached 5,000 people.
The difficulty in gaining proper treatment has put drug addicts in jeopardy. “This is unfair on them, basically each of them wants to be free from addiction.”
He said putting drug addicts in jail was not an effective method to cure them and would only propel their addiction to new heights, influenced by other addicts in prison.
Data from the Bali Police showed that there were at least 200 drug addicts and 490 drug dealers arrested and who had undergone the legal process.
“But we feel somewhat relieved because the Denpasar District Court has ruled the ‘rehabilitation charge’ for several addicts instead of jailing them, although they have to pay for the rehabilitation cost themselves,” Adi said.
IKON’s Bali chapter has 120 members, consisting of ex-users and drug addicts who are currently undergoing treatment. They are responsible for helping drug addicts gain proper treatment.
Cok Raka Kerthiyasa, member of the Bali provincial council, disagreed that the local administration lacked commitment in helping drug addicts, saying that the coun-cil had proposed a rehabilitation budget.
“We’re struggling to include the rehabilitation fund in the next provincial budget, which will be decided in June this year.”
He agreed that addicts needed greater rehabilitation support from the government, considering their financial ability and the burden of addiction.
Drug addicts are also at risk of HIV/AIDS infection, especially Injecting Drug Users (IDU), because they share needles. The Bali AIDS Commission estimated that there were 1,500 IDU infected in Bali, or 22 percent of the total 7,000 people living with HIV/AIDS on the island province.