Sat, 12 Feb 2000

New ruling on narcotic import quota drafted

JAKARTA (JP): A new regulation is being drafted to set a quota on the amount of narcotic substances imported and produced in the country in an effort to curb a possible spill-over seeping into the illegal market.

Production and import of narcotics in the country are monopolized by privately-run Kimia Farma.

Once the new regulation is in place, the government would have the right to restrict the amount that the company can import and produce.

Director General of Food and Medicine Control Sampurno said here on Friday that the Ministry of Health would each year survey the expected demand from hospitals, medical schools and other institutions permitted to utilize narcotics, and determine the required amounts.

"The production and supply of the narcotics each year will depend on the determined amount. This way we can help prevent illicit trafficking of the narcotics," Sampurno told reporters.

The legal use of narcotics in Indonesia is limited to prescribed medication and research.

Sampurno expressed confidence that with the new quota system the government can better control the legal production and import of the drugs, thereby curbing unwanted excess.

However, he did not say how much the current official national demand for the drugs.

The drug problem has gained nationwide attention in recent months. Minister of Health Achmad Sujudi has pledged that his office would do its utmost to help eradicate the problem.

The ministry's Law and Public Relations Bureau Chief Budi Yhamono said a rough draft of the regulation on the narcotics quota may be completed by the end of a four-day National Working Meeting of the Ministry of Health that began on Wednesday.

"We are also discussing the revision of Law No. 5/1997 on narcotics and Law No. 22/1997 on psychotropic drugs. We are looking into basic changes in the length of punishment for violators and procedures for narcotics production and supply," Budi said.

The revision will propose a maximum jail term of 20 years or life imprisonment for drugs traffickers.

"We are considering the death sentence but it's still quite controversial among us," he added.

Sampurno also said that his office had approved the entry of the Naloxone detoxification pills with a dosage of 0.4 milligram.

The pills will help recovering drug users clean their system of the various toxins consumed during their addiction.

The pills can be acquired through a prescription from physicians or psychiatrists.

Each pill is sold at a price of Rp50,000 (US$6.25). (04)