Emerging trends and concerns

  • The trafficking of crystalline methamphetamine into Indonesia by transnational organized criminal groups continues to be of major concern.
  • The amount of crystalline methamphetamine and ecstasy seized in 2013 decreased considerably from 2012, when record quantities of both substances were seized.
  • The injecting use of methamphetamine is indicated to have decreased slightly in 2013. However, according to government experts the injecting use of other substances such as Suboxone, a medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence, and heroin is indicated to have increased.
  • The large amounts of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine available for licit industrial purposes in Indonesia also heighten the risk of these substances being diverted for illicit ATS manufacture.

Overview of the drug situation

Although the use of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) in Indonesia has remained relatively stable over the past few years, it has expanded throughout the country, both geographically and demographically. Crystalline methamphetamine remains the primary drug of concern in Indonesia, and considerable quantities of crystalline methamphetamine and ecstasy continue to be manufactured domestically. In addition, transnational organized criminal groups from outside the region continue to target Indonesia as a destination and transit country for ATS.

Cannabis remains the most widely used drug in Indonesia. In addition, the use of dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, has increased rapidly among illicit drug users in recent years. Indonesia also has a large market for low-purity heroin, and heroin users continue to account for a large portion of persons admitted to drug treatment centres. However, heroin use has shown an overall declining trend during the past five years.

Table 1. Trend in use of selected drugs in Indonesia, 2009-2013

Crystalline methamphetamine users accounted for about 25% of all persons who received drug treatment in 2013, and ecstasy users accounted for about 4% (compared with 26% and 13% respectively in 2012). In addition, the number of persons in treatment for crystalline methamphetamine use in 2013 (1,785) is about 80% higher than in 2012 (993). Crystalline methamphetamine users accounted for the second largest proportion (31%) of all persons newly admitted to drug treatment during the year, with heroin users accounting for the largest (36%). Of the 773 women in drug treatment in 2013, 247 of them (32%) were treated for crystalline methamphetamine use and 8% were admitted for ecstasy use (and 36% for heroin use).

Table 2. Drug treatment admissions in Indonesia by drug type, 2013

The use of new psychoactive substances in Indonesia was relatively limited but has increased considerably in the last few years. Ketamine use, although not widespread, continues to be the most widely used new psychoactive substance in the country. A large number of pills sold as ‘ecstasy’ contain ketamine and other psychoactive substances in place of MDMA. More recently, piperazines and synthetic cathinones have emerged on the illicit drug market in Indonesia.

During the past few years declining quantities of ketamine have been seized in Indonesia (117 kg in 2010, 95 kg in 2011, 13 kg in 2012 and 4.7 kg in 2013). Indonesia has also reported seizures of kratom, synthetic cannabinoids (including JWH-018), various piperazines such as 1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine (TFMPP) and N-benzylpiperazine (BZP), and phenethylamines. In February 2013, anti-drug officials eradicated two to three hectares of khat plants in Bogor, West Java. Khat contains the amphetamine-like stimulant cathinone, which is a banned substance under the 2009 Anti-Narcotics Law. In 2013, a total of 7.4 grams of methylone were seized. 

In 2013 and 2014, the Government of Indonesia identified at least 30 NPS on the illicit drug market in Indonesia. These include, synthetic cannabinoids (5F-AKB48; JWH-018; MAM-2201; JWH-122; AM-2201 4-methylnaphthyl analog; XLR-11), synthetic cathinones (MDPV; 4-MEC; MPHP; ethcathinone (ethylpropion); bk-MDEA; 4-MMC (mephedrone); bk-MDMA (methylone); pentedrone), phenethylamines (DOC; 25B-NBOMe; 25C-NBOMe; 25I-NBOMe; 5-APB; 6-APB; DMA; PMMA), piperazines (mCPP; TFMPP; BZP), plant-based substances (khat; kratom), tryptamines (α-MT), phencyclidine-type substances (ketamine and methoxetamine) and 1-methyl-3-phenylpropylamine. The phenethylamines 25B-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe and 25I-NBOMe, substances which mimic the effects of LSD, were identified in the form of paper blotters by the BNN in October and November 2013.

Crystalline methamphetamine seizures in Indonesia increased substantially from 2009 to 2012 but decreased by 74% in 2013 to 542.7 kg. The 2.1 tons seized in 2012 is the highest total ever reported from the country and was due to a small number of large seizures (approximately 100-400 kg) made in sea cargo consignments in that year.

Similarly, the number of ecstasy pills seized in Indonesia increased for three successive years from 2009 to 2012 but decreased by 73% to approximately 1.2 million ecstasy pills in 2013. The 4.3 million ecstasy pills seized in 2012 was the highest total reported during the previous five years and was due to large seizures made in sea cargo consignments, including the seizure of 1.5 million ecstasy pills originating from China in June 2012.

Table 3. Seizures of selected drugs in Indonesia, 2009-2013

In 2013, a total of two clandestine ATS laboratories were seized in Indonesia, both of which were small crystalline methamphetamine manufacturing facilities. Malaysia and India are also prominent countries of origin of seized illicit drugs in Indonesia. A significant portion of methamphetamine trafficked into Indonesia originates in Iran. African drug trafficking groups often use Vietnamese and Cambodian nationals as drug couriers to smuggle multi-kilogramme consignments of crystalline methamphetamine into Indonesia.