An Australian man heading to Bali for a surprise birthday trip with his wife is facing two decades behind bars for stowing a bottle of pills, used to treat ADHD, in his bag.
Indonesian police say 37-year-old Michael William Petersen — an Australian Air Force veteran — declared he had dexamfetamine when he arrived at Denpasar Airport on Friday night on a Jetstar flight.
But he was detained when he failed to present a doctor's certificate or prescription for the drug, which is used to treat ADHD but is also used recreationally, reports News.com.au.
Customs officers became suspicious because the 37-year-old had a large number of tablets for the short trip — his luggage allegedly contained 87 pills.
The drug is stimulant also used to treat narcolepsy in adults — a condition where sufferers cannot stop falling asleep — and works to keep people alert.
Petersen, from the Hunter Region of New South Wales, is understood to take the medication for extreme fatigue he suffers, related to his 24 years in the Australian Air Force.
However, under Indonesian law, any medication brought by tourists and containing controlled substances must be accompanied by a prescription and a doctor's letter.
Not only that, dexamfetamine is considered one of the most serious types of narcotic in Indonesia, with the amount Petersen is accused of possessing punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.
Petersen's lawyer Edward Pangkahila told Nine News his client's prescription was legally obtained in Australia. He's confident his client will be freed midweek.
"Now he is calm and quite positive too. Yesterday he panicked and asked the worst case with this but now that I explained everything it will be okay," he said.
Petersen was travelling with his wife but given that he has said the medication is for himself, his wife was released.
He's not the first Aussie to be stung for carrying ADHD medication.
In August, 25-year-old Adelaide model and social media influencer, Tori Ann Lyla Hunter, was detained for four days for bringing "prescription medication into the country".
"They stripsearched me. It made me feel very uncomfortable," she told A Current Affair.
"It's not as if I'm Schapelle Corby or anything, it was prescription medication. They treated me like a dog. I wanted to let my hair down but instead I got locked up."
Hunter said she had a doctor's note for the medication, which she used to treat anxiety and ADHD, but admitted she was carrying more than she needed for the six-day trip.
The medication included dexamphetamine and valium.
DFAT's smartraveller.gov.au website warns that some drugs used to treat ADHD are illegal in Indonesia and warns those caught with them could face detention, fines or harsher penalties, even if the medication is prescribed by an Australian doctor.
"Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries," it reads. "Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
"Some drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are illegal in Indonesia. If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Indonesia. Take enough legal medicine for your trip."
It also advises you to carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating: what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use.
"If you're caught with illegal medicine, you could face detention, fines or harsher penalties. You could face charges even if an Australian doctor prescribed the medication," DFAT says.