DYING A SLOW DEATH: Inside Indonesia's Drug War

2015. november 29.
PKNI and Drugreporter launch their new documentary film in 4 cities across Indonesia ahead of World AIDS Day 2015. Watch and share the film to end the war on drugs in Indonesia!
In early 2015, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, stated that Indonesia was in a state of emergency due to rampant drug use and declared a renewed ‘war on drugs’. In practice, this led to increased funding for law enforcement and a series of punitive measures that have exacerbated the problem instead of addressing it. 
The short documentary film Dying a Slow Death: Inside Indonesia's Drug War, produced by the Indonesian Drug Users Network (PKNI) and the Drugreporter, documents the first-hand impacts of the drug war as experienced by the community itself. The documentary features testimony and interviews with people who use drugs, methadone patients, academics and religious leaders, and was filmed and conceived by local drug user community activists. Beginning with the execution of 14 drug traffickers earlier this year, the film details how Indonesia is sliding toward compulsory drug treatment, increased extortion and bribery, while creating more barriers to access of health and support services.

Watch the movie here:

The war on drugs paradigm is a proven failure around the world. In fact, this approach has not only failed to reduce drug use supply and demand; it has cost governments billions of dollars in health, social and other costs, and led to countless violations of human rights. It is set to follow the same trajectory in the Indonesian context.  The developments shown in the film represent a significant step backwards for Indonesian drug policy. Indonesia has previously been praised for expanding harm reduction programmes such as provision of needle syringe and methadone maintenance therapy that have partly been credited with curbing HIV among people who inject drugs from 52% in 2009 to 36% as of 2012. Now the country is moving toward a paradigm that undermines the effectiveness and reach of such programmes, pushing people who use drugs increasingly underground and toward increasingly riskier practices. 
At the time of the publication of this article, the film launch takes place simultaneously in four cities across Indonesia – Jakarta, Bali, Bandung and Batam – and features public discussions with experts, public intellectuals, and community representatives on forging a more holistic response to drug issues in Indonesia.

The public discussions inspired by the film aim to engage society directly in a more nuanced conversation about drugs and the societal goals we aim to accomplish. The organizers aim to inspire Indonesians to educate themselves on the facts behind the war on drugs policy promoted by their government and other governments around the world since it was declared by US President Richard Nixon in 1961.
The launch of the film is the beginning of a series of activities throughout 2016 that support the major objectives of PKNI, namely promoting a paradigm shift away from punitive approaches to drugs towards humane, evidence-based responses. 
By Edo Wallad, Media Officer, Indonesian Drug Users Network