Freed Aussie tells of drug arrest ‘trauma’
Australian air force veteran Michael Petersen has been released from Denpasar police headquarters after being held in custody for four days.
Petersen, from the Hunter region in NSW, was detained after carrying 87 dexamphetamine pills into Indonesia.
Petersen, with his wife Linda beside him, looked happy and relieved after his prescription medicine nightmare that started at the international airport on Saturday.
He thanked his lawyer, his Australian doctor and pharmacists for acting quickly to support him as well as wife Linda and his children in Australia for their emotional support.
Mr Petersen also thanked his local translator and other staff for their support during what he called a "traumatic time".
He even magnanimously said that Bali's narcotics police had "almost become friends" during his detainment.
"The narcotics police have been very, very good to me. I almost consider them friends.
Edward (his lawyer) and his staff have taken me out from a bad place and they kept reassuring me and reassuring me," he said.
"I may be back (to Bali) one day but I'd make sure to ring Edward first and have the right documentation.
"I've never been in jail before ... it was awful, awful, um, yeah and very traumatic. I can't say much more without breaking.
"Let's just leave it at that and I'd like to now move on and enjoy some time with my wife."
Customs and police detained Mr Petersen because of the quantity of the drug - which is commonly used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy and are usually prescribed by specialist psychiatrists.
It also comes with a 'Black Box' warning regarding drug dependence specifically for those with drug and alcohol dependencies.
The couple travelled to Bali for a four-day birthday celebration on the island of the gods for Mrs Petersen, who was by her husband's side throughout the drama.
The couple shared kisses and birthday cake under the harsh lights of the police station on Mrs Petersen's birthday.
The former air force technician warned Aussie travellers to always get reliable advice before travelling overseas with prescription medications.
"Go to the Smartraveller website. I normally do. This is the first time I haven't. Definitely do it because this (detainment) in not worth the trouble," Mr Petersen said.
While he was in custody, Mr Petersen collapsed on Sunday and was rushed to hospital where Indonesian doctors struggled to find a comparable medication to dexamphetamine, which has a compound that is illegal in Indonesia as a Class 1 narcotic.
Mr Petersen has taken the medication four times a day for four years to treat myasthenia gravis and conditions associated with the illness, including depression.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a long-term neuromuscular disease that leads to varying degrees of skeletal muscle weakness.