A MAJOR decrease in drugs and substance abuse cases in schools has been recorded by the National Substance Abuse Advisoriy Council (NSAAC).
The council is optimistic the number can be further decreased to zero with the collective effort of all stakeholders.
Between 2004-2010, tobacco used in primary and secondary schools decreased by 7 per cent, while alcohol consumption decreased by 13 per cent, yaqona by 16 per cent and marijuana by 8 per cent.
Council director Misaele Driubalavu said it was through the help of the Bank of Baroda and other stakeholders the council had been able to develop its mission of 10 years to make Fiji a ‘Drug Free Nation'.
On Monday, the bank presented a cheque for $800 for a flag competition which the council is organising for secondary schools as part of celebrations for the International Day Against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Mr Driubalalvu said the assistance would help the secretariat in its campaign against drugs and substance abuse and how they were major contributing factors to child abuse and violence against girls and women.
"The government cannot address drugs and substance abuse in the nation alone," Mr Driubalavu said.
"It will take the collective effort of the NGOs, faith-based organisations, provincial councils, the vanua and the private sector organisations such as the Bank of Baroda to achieve this."
Bank senior manager Inder Sharma said they were always on the frontline when it came to uplifting the social life particularly those who were more vulnerable in society.
"We are always ready to assist in campaigns such as this. We like to do as much as we can to help these children," Mr Sharma said.