UNODC and BNN conduct virtual Briefing on Development of Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia for Indonesian Law Enforcement Agencies

Following UNODC’s newly released report “Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia: Latest Developments and Challenges”, the UNODC Programme Office in Indonesia in partnership with the National Narcotics Board of the Republic of Indonesia (BNN) conducted a virtual briefing of the Report to national law enforcement agencies.

“This phenomenon shows the resourcefulness of these criminal groups which, despite the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region”, said Mr. Collie F. Brown, Country Manager of UNODC in Indonesia, warning the expansion and diversification of synthetic drugs.

“Measures implemented by governments to curb the COVID-19 pandemic have led to drug trafficking routes by air being disrupted, along with drastic reduction and increased interdiction in trafficking routes over land”, said Police Commissioner General Drs. Heru Winarko, SH., Head of the BNN, highlighting that measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in the region has proved successful in disrupting the illicit trafficking of drugs. Mr. Winarko futher added that the implication of heightened security in air and land routes has led to the establishment of alternative trafficking routes.

As noted in the report, despite the declining prices, the purity of Southeast Asian methamphetamine remains high or has increased. For Indonesia, this implies that existing users will have increased access to the drugs, and there will be new users. This calls for an urgent expansion in prevention and treatment for people who use drugs.

Another step forward would be to develop early warning mechanisms by working with hospitals to identify entry of synthetic opioids in the market. Awareness raising would also be needed for frontline law enforcement personnel, taking into consideration the shifts in the market, such as online transactions, postal and air freight transports.

Senor officials from various ministries exchanged ideas on the way forward, including on establishing BNN interdiction Command Posts on land border sites in Indonesia. The Ministry of Marine and Fisheries also committed their support to assist in conducting interdictions at sea. A proposal was also made on conducting capacity building field personnel in handling hazardous materials and drugs, such as fentanyl. UNODC will continue to cooperate with the Government of Indonesia on the issues of drugs, law enforcement, and health.

This virtual briefing was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Ministry of Finance’s DG of Customs and Excise, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesian National Police, Indonesian Transaction Report and Analysis Centre, Indonesian Coast Guard, and the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Indonesian Border Management Agency.