Underage consumption of unrecorded alcohol is a major threat to the youth in Bandung City. In this study, 48% of all students who confirmed that they drink alcohol reported that they started drinking when they were in senior high school (15 – 17 years old). Alarmingly, 12% started drinking while they were primary school age (6 – 12 years old), and 20% began while in junior high school (13 – 15 years old). Ministry of Trade Regulation (MOT) 20/2014, MOT 06/2015, and Bandung City Regional Regulation (BCRR) 11/2010 all fail to curb underage drinking.
The volume of alcohol that Indonesians consume is not the problem as they drink much less than citizens of other countries. In 2015, Euromonitor International stated that annual sales volume per capita of recorded alcohol in Indonesia was only 2.26 liters. This number is much lower than in Thailand and Turkey that reached 47.63 liters and 15.88 liters respectively. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Indonesians only consume 0.6 liters of pure alcohol annually per capita, lower than the South-East Asian average (3.4 liters) and also lower than in the Arab World (0.7 liters).
The problem is, instead, what people consume. The most vital threat to Indonesian youth is oplosan, a type of unrecorded alcohol that can contain non-food ingredients, such as mosquito repellant, headache pills, and battery fluids. When methyl alcohol (methanol) is added, consuming oplosan can lead to seizures, organ failure, and death. 32% of all alcohol-consuming students surveyed for this study have consumed oplosan.
Bandung and the surrounding area appear to be a hot spot for oplosan-related deaths. In the Greater Bandung area there were 40 reported deaths attributed to oplosan between January 2008 and December 2013. From January 2014 to April 10, 2018, however, the reported deaths more than doubled and reached 90 cases. On average, there is one death per 615,000 people every year in this region. This is nearly five times higher than the national average of one death per 3 million people per year.