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Meth-infused vape liquid home industry sparks concern over e-cigs

Jakarta Globe - January 18, 2023

Beritasatu, Jakarta – The Jakarta Metropolitan Police and the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Customs Office recently uncovered a home industry for meth-laced e-liquid in West Jakarta – sparking concerns about the cigarette alternative, especially when used by adolescents.

The suspect is a 22-year-old man called Mochammad Rafi Khairullah. The police confiscated 385 bottles of meth-laced liquid vape bottles, amounting to a total of 16 liters.

According to the police, Rafi had rented a house in West Jakarta, to mix the illicit drugs into the vape liquid. The police revealed that Rafi tried to sell the meth-laced vape liquid online.

"He sold each 100-ml size bottle for Rp 200,000 [$13]. Our investigation so far showed that the culprit was only about to sell the e-liquid to a number of buyers in the Greater Jakarta area," Mukti Juharsa, the director of narcotics investigation at the Jakarta Metropolitan Police, told reporters on Monday, as reported by Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu.

The police over the weekend raided the drug-laced e-liquid home industry after neighbors reported suspicious activities at Rafi's home.

"We caught the suspect right in front of his house. His urine drug test came negative," Metropolitan Jakarta Police spokesman Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko said on Saturday.

News outlet Tempo reported that Rafi had smuggled the raw materials from Iran, which then made its way to Hong Kong, China first before arriving in Indonesia. The police are also currently searching for two other suspects, namely Candra and Andi, who assisted in the smuggling of the raw materials.

The news of drug-infused vape liquid caused many to worry about the vape use trend among youths. House of Representatives member Irma Suryani Chaniago said many people are under the impression that vaping is less harmful than smoking a regular cigarette. Irma said that vape liquid contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals, and it could be even more dangerous if drugs are in the mix.

"The government must impose regulation on its distribution. Why? Because adolescents might smoke vape. Almost all middle school kids nowadays have a vape," Irma Suryani told BTV on Monday.

Today, electronic cigarettes are still not regulated by government authorities. According to Irma, BPOM to date only has regulations on e-cigarette ads.

The 2021 Global Adult Tobacco reported that vape smoking prevalence rose from 0.3 percent in 2011 to 3 percent in 2021. Slamet Budiarto, the chairman at the executive board of the Indonesian Medical Association, also highlighted how we must steer adolescents away from the vape trend.

"The government, the National Drugs, and Food Monitoring Agency [BPOM], and the Health Ministry should address this. It is their job. Especially if [the liquid vape] contains drugs, that would be extremely dangerous. The government needs to take care of this. This is to protect the people," Slamet said, earlier this week.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/methinfused-vape-liquid-home-industry-sparks-concern-over-ecig