• Narcotics Agency recruits Bali religious leaders in the island’s ‘fight against drugs’

    The Narcotics Agency is turning to Balinese priests for help. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    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 ‘collab’ on Sunday in Mengwi at a meeting without 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.

    “There are two main roles of priests: jagathita, so provide a good example for community members, and adhi guru loka, act as a teacher. Thus, religious leaders must be clean and must act as agents of BNN, urging people away from drugs.”

    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.

    Sources: https://coconuts.co/bali/news/narcotics-agency-recruits-bali-religious-leaders-islands-fight-drugs/

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