Rehab suffers in Indonesia drug war

Officials and rights activists say Indonesia's government isn't doing enough help to rehabilitate drug users as it cracks down on narcotics.

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - For Indonesia's drug addicts, a herbal hot bath treatment is the only hope many have to help them kick the habit.

It's a free service backed by the government, and Rizki Mulyadi says it's working for him.

"I feel that my condition is getting batter. I've started to recover from methamphetamine addiction. I used methamphetamine for about six years on a daily basis but now I feel my life is back to normal," said Mulyadi, a recovering drug addict.

The National Narcotics Agency budget has tripled as part of a nationwide crackdown on drugs use, but the budget for rehabilitation of addicts is going the other way.

The country's Social Affairs Minister says her department is aiming to help 15,000 addicts this year, but next year it'll only get enough money to treat 9,000.

"The Social Affairs Ministry budget is not enough for it, and the Law and Human Rights Ministry also doesn't have enough money. That's why we need more funding on the rehabilitation programmes for drug users so we can treat more of them," said Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa.

Human rights activist Andreas Harsono agrees the government can and should do more.

"Right now, what the government is trying to advocate is to build more prisons, which is unfortunate. What the government should do is to build more rehab."

A presidential spokesman insisted rehabilitation and law enforcement went hand in hand but rehabilitation would take time to build up.

In the meantime - after the country's latest highly publicised round of executions of drug offenders - herbs, hot baths and prayers are the only alternative left to many addicts looking to reform.