BALI, INDONESIA , August 22, 2017 (by Coconuts Bali): The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) is getting local religious leaders involved in the fight against drugs in Bali. BNN Bali Chief Brig. Gen. Putu Gede Suastawa discussed the collaboration on Sunday in Mengwi at a meeting with around 100 community religious figures. Religion plays a major role in Balinese culture, with the island’s predominantly Hindu population. Hindu priests serve as intermediaries between the people and Gods and ancestors, so they are well positioned to combat drug usage in the community, according to Suastawa. “As role models, religious leaders can certainly be a medium of information about the dangers of drugs, whether at religious ceremonies, religious lectures, meeting forums, and other various religious activities,” Suastawa said, as quoted by Bali Post.
Just earlier this month, Bali’s governor, Made Mangku Pastika pronounced the island’s drug situation a state of emergency, reasoning that once drugs reached villages, then “you know you have a problem.” Pastika also cited figures reflecting an increase in narcotics abuse cases from 61,353 in 2015 to 62,457 in 2016.