Indonesian President Joko Widodo has used his short time in office to enforce a brutal war on drugs. In December 2014, just two months after being sworn in, Widodo declared a state of emergency on drugs and vowed to reject requests for clemency related to drug offenses. The president has acted with chilling efficacy—14 people have been executed for drug-related offenses since he made this pledge.
Now, shocked by the measures taken by the state, a group of academics from Indonesia’s top universities have rallied to stand with civil society experts and call for an evidence-informed response to drugs in Indonesia. This call was published as an open letter in the world’s most prominent medical journal, the Lancet, and received extensiveinternational and local media attention. “As researchers, scientists, and practitioners we have grave concerns the government is missing an opportunity to implement an effective response to illicit drugs informed by evidence,” the group wrote.
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