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New research shows how Indonesia’s drug control policy victimises women, and puts their health at risk
By Claudia Stoicescu, Associate Professor, Public Health, Monash University, Indonesia
On a balmy day in 2009, Adinda Amalia (not her real name) and her boyfriend were arrested after they were caught injecting heroin in an informal shooting gallery – a derelict property in a South Jakarta slum. The arrests followed a police raid on the area.
The couple were brought to the local police station. While her boyfriend was allegedly beaten and tortured in a separate cell, Adinda was allegedly blindfolded, drugged, and gang-raped by police officers over four days.
The police allegedly demanded IDR95 million (US$6500) to end her ordeal and drop all charges – an unfathomable amount for someone living below the poverty line in Indonesia.
My latest research shows that experiences similar to Adinda’s at the hands of police officers are widespread in Indonesia.
Worse still, drug law enforcement in Indonesia including crackdowns, arrests for drug use, incarceration, and extrajudicial abuses were linked with negative health outcomes for women, and increased their risk of suffering a drug overdose.