Editorial comment | Reality of hard drugs

Drugs seized from the raid in the north. Picture: FIJI POLICE

The revelation that an estimated $1.7 million worth of marijuana was seized and 33 people subsequently arrested during a special joint drug operation between the Fiji Police Force and Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) in the Northern Division is a concern.

Any major drug haul should concern us all. We must face the fact that we have a drug problem.

This latest haul confirms what we have long known that there are many Fijians engaged in the illicit trade and there are many users.

With that in mind we wonder how far we are in finally confirming another major challenge that we face in terms of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

Having a drug problem is a major challenge for many arms of Government. It places great pressure on our legal system, our law enforcers, and directly and indirectly on our communities and the family structure.

There are people who make a living off the proceeds of drug sales. What is a major concern is the changing habits also of users, especially with the fact there obviously is big money to be made and people are willing to take risks for the money.

The drug trade survives because there are people who buy drugs. These users ensure the trade goes on, and the hidden faces behind it know this and are encouraging the habit.

Assistant Commissioner of Police and chief of operations Livai Driu said joint operations began on September 19 and involved the deployment of officers from the Fiji Detector Dog Unit and Narcotics Bureau to assist police in the Northern Division with the drug operations.

ACP Driu said the focus was to target suppliers and this was achieved as several arrests and seizures made were of drugs intended for sale. He spoke about marijuana packed and ready for sale.

He spoke about a raid at a kava bar which resulted in the seizure of several small plastics of dried leaves believed to be marijuana hidden inside a mattress.

Then the big one. He spoke about the fact that more than 33 grams of white drugs were also seized signifying a shift in trends.

The discovery of methamphetamine in Labasa, Savusavu and Nabouwalu means there is a shift in user habits. It seems no division is immune from the grip of hard drugs.

This is why, once again, we reiterate the need for us to be setting up rehabilitation centres, to assist people to get over the habit. We must accept the fact that we have a serious drug problem, and this hasn’t just popped out of the woodworks recently. There must be unity in the fight against drugs!

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