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A sur­vey has found 65 per­cent of youths liv­ing in Jakarta and sur­round­ing cities con­sume boot­leg liquor, known as oplosan, rais­ing ques­tions about the wis­dom of con­tin­u­ing the mini mart ban on al­co­hol sales.

The sur­vey, con­ducted by Nahd­latul Ulama Hu­man Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment (Lakpes­dam), found tra­di­tional medicine, or jamu, ven­dors are by a large mar­gin the main source for youths after 71.5 per­cent re­ported pur­chas­ing liquor from them.

A fur­ther 14.3 per­cent re­ported buy­ing boot­leg al­co­hol from con­ve­nience stores and the re­main­der from peo­ple who pur­chased it on their be­half.

Tempo re­ported the sur­vey started in Fe­bru­ary and had 327 re­spon­dents aged be­tween 12 and 21 who had been se­lected ran­domly. The sur­vey has a mar­gin of er­ror at 4.5 per­cent. The re­sults have prompted NU to call for a re­con­sid­er­a­tion of the 2015 Trade Min­istry reg­u­la­tion which re­moved the sale of al­co­hol at con­ve­nience stores and mini marts.

“Teenagers are look­ing else­where,” Lakpes­dam Di­rec­tor Ab­dul Wahid Hasyim said, as re­ported by Tempo.

Pub­lic health con­cerns had been raised when the reg­u­la­tion was an­nounced, with re­ports of deaths, blind­ness and other in­juries caused by boot­leg al­co­hol com­mon across the coun­try.

“No one has ever died from drink­ing beer, but our young peo­ple could die if they drink boot­leg liquor,” Hasyim said, as re­ported by the Strait­sTimes.

"If a gov­ern­ment pol­icy leads to vastly in­creased distri­bu­tion of and eas­ier ac­cess to boot­leg liquor,

I think this would be the wrong step by the gov­ern­ment.”

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