Indonesia may become top ecstasy drug maker in Asia

March 1st, 2012 - 10:35 am ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, March 1 (IANS/AKI) Indonesia may soon become Asia’s largest producer of synthetic drug ecstasy, even as officials continue to crack down on drug traffickers, according to a UN narcotics watchdog.

The country may become the major producer of ecstasy in east and southeast Asia since Indonesia had a surplus of raw materials used to make the drug, says a report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Ecstasy is the most commonly used drug in the country after heroin and ketamines.

Local production of stimulants continues to soar, raising fears of an increasing number of drug users in Indonesia, INCB member Sri Suryawati said.

Ecstasy producers flourish in the country despite strict import procedures for chemicals and pharmaceutical raw materials imposed by the National Drug and Food Monitoring Agency and the health ministry.

“Under such circumstances, there is also a possibility that the raw materials are trafficked into the country by smugglers,” Sri said.

The INCB report said the number of ecstasy tablets seized by law enforcement agencies in Indonesia increased by 38 percent between 2009 and 2010.

Police and the National Narcotics Agency shut down 15 clandestine ecstasy laboratories in 2010 alone.

The report said Asia accounted for 99 percent of ketamine seizures across the world in 2009 and that China alone seized five tonnes of ketamines in 2010.

Indonesia was one of several countries that reported ketamine seizures, along with Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Doctors in Indonesia previously used ketamines as an anaesthetic, although the practice ended after the local pharmaceutical industry began to produce higher-quality anaesthetics.

Only veterinarians still use ketamines to anaesthetise animals during surgery.

–IANS/AKI
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