Editorial comment – Time to be proactive

A bag containing the hard drug Methamphetamine. Picture: FT FILE

THE revelation that there is an urgent need to change and enforce Fiji’s laws to effectively address any alarming increase in the trafficking and production of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine or “ice” will no doubt attract interest.

That’s the suggestion by Fiji Pharmaceutical Society president Reshnika Sen who believes current laws were inadequate.

Ms Sen believes they should be strengthened in line with those in Australia and New Zealand.

While laws are there, she believes they are insufficient and enforcement from the Government pharmacy is minimal.

She said a lot of training needs to be provided for regulators and inspectors in government pharmacy and Customs to enforce laws on a better scale.

For this to happen, she insists there was a need for more policies and the political will to make changes.

Her comments came in the wake of concern expressed by Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho over the use of methamphetamine by teenagers.

He admits that although only three clandestine labs had been discovered in Fiji, police must be smarter and more alert.

The Regional Representative of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) Southeast Asia and the Pacific Jeremy Douglas agreed stakeholders needed to work together to find ways of tackling the problem.

It is a concern that ice is here. It is a concern that the police have a complaint about a young woman already allegedly taking it.

It is a concern that we are not actually quite sure of how widespread it is in Fiji.

For whatever it is worth, the mere fact that ice is available here is a major concern.

It is a frightening reality of life in Fiji now. At one stage the police were actively involved in a battle against marijuana and its widespread impact on farmers and buyers.

Now we have to factor in hard drugs.

The recent discovery of cocaine in a number of islands here has raised further concern that we may be a launch pad for the sale of hard drugs in countries such as Australia.

That on its own does place a heavy burden on our border control officers to be proactive.

It also places pressure on the police force to be vigilant. At a time when the force is still fighting marijuana, the revelations about hard drugs does make its work a little bit tougher.

The challenge though is on us as individuals to be alert, proactive and vigilant as well.

The police need our support to fight any kind of drug in our nation.

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