Editorial comment – Hard drug reality

Methamphetamine in powdered form. Picture: Curtis Wildfong

METHAMPHETAMINE can become our biggest security issue if it’s not controlled? That’s the warning from the police.

Police chief of operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu said the cheap, easy to make, and highly addictive drug, was being produced in the country through a lot of “dirty transactions”.

Meth production labs, he said, can be set up anywhere because the ingredients and recipes were easy to find on the internet.

When we do a comparison with one of our neighbours, then by April this year, methamphetamine had become the top choice for most Australian users of hard drugs.

An Australian Associated Press report in April this year stated three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA, a stimulant drug, and more than 700kg of heroin were consumed in Australia between August 2016 and August 2017.

What was staggering though was the revelation that more than eight tonnes of methamphetamine were shot up, smoked or snorted.

The federal law enforcement minister at the time, Angus Taylor, expressed concern, pointing at methamphetamine as a “very serious issue”.

The figures were part of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s fourth National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report which was released in April this year.

It actually showed an overall increase in illicit drug consumption across that country.

In Fiji, ACP Tudravu said the internet was being used as a tool to source tutorials on meth-making. Technological advances also provided for mass networking and communication to facilitate and increase the meth and cocaine drug markets.

He likened Fiji’s early experience to a “small meth scissors”.

There is none so far that runs like a factory kind a thing, he said.

“People are trying to test it and these are the very people we are trying to arrest now,” he said.

We have the manpower, he said, and work is ongoing to fight meth around the country.

The target, ACP Tuidravu said, is to control the drug problem, and not allow it to threaten society.

The discovery of cocaine packs recently in outlying islands does raise more concern about the impact and availability of hard drugs in our country.

It is a major worry and must be a topic of discussion at all levels of society.

This obviously isn’t an issue that will just go away if we ignore it.

Is meth, or cocaine for that matter, readily available now in parts of the country? If there’s a yes, then is it cheaper than alcohol and cigarettes? Are we appropriately dealing with the hard drug issue? Do we truly know the extent of the spread of meth and its usage for starters?

Such times demand the active participation of all stakeholders to support the police in its campaign to fight hard drugs. And that starts with us as individuals.

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