Editorial comment – Fighting the meth flood

Methamphetamine in powdered form. Picture: Curtis Wildfong

The deaths of two people stemming from the manufacture of methamphetamine (Ice) should not come as a shocker!

What should be a shocker is the fact that we have allowed this to happen and to reach this stage.

It is shocking that we have not been able to police this effectively over the years.

It is encouraging to note though that police are raising awareness about ice now.

However, now that we are told this ice drug has been around for some time, it raises the issue of how did we let it slip below the radar for so long?

If at all there was such a radar in the first place! Assistant Superintendent of Police Anare Masitabua, the officer in charge of drug intelligence made some interesting points during Leadership Fiji’s National Dialogue on Substance Abuse at the University of the South Pacific this week.

Ice, ASP Masitabua said, was circulating in Fiji as far back as 1978.

However, he said, dealers were now mixing ice with other substances.

“The formula is still the same from before, but what we are seeing now is that they are mixing ice with rat poison,” he said.

“They mix ice with basically anything and everything. Manufacture of ice is being done here and we have already had two deaths and a few injuries.”

ASP Masitabua said users of the drug had revealed that they did not get high from methamphetamine alone.

“These are street dwellers who use ice. They don’t feel the high, so now they mix it with cocaine and heroin.

“Some of the hard drugs we are seizing now are green. Once we see it, we know it’s mixed with rat poison. Only green substance sold in the shops is rat poison.”

While our drug analysis machines used by the Fiji Police Force are on par with those used internationally, the rat poison mixture was not catalogued.

Of the 1440 drug seizures last year, a total of 113 were meth cases, he said.

The total value of ice and other narcotics and psychotropic drugs seized last year was $40 million.

ASP Masitabua also revealed that ice in Fiji was being mixed with butane, a substance found in sprays or aerosols.

This turn of events is frightening.

It offers us a shocking insight into the drug world, what some of our own people are doing, and the extent to which they will reach out to make money.

It is a sad part of our society.

This is why we must be vigilant.

This is why we must pull out all stops to assist the police now.

We cannot afford to be overwhelmed by a methamphetamine epidemic.

There are many questions that need to be asked.

We realise it is never easy to fight this.

It is never easy taking on the drug pushers.

Because as much as our police force will raise its investigation standards, drug pushers who have had a taste of the big money involved, are adapting a ruthless edge, shrugging aside any concern for the welfare and health of their fellow citizens.

They are also adapting to the police methods and will factor in losses as part of the equation.

Money matters in the end for them.

That is the harsh reality of the drug scenario here.

This is why the police need our assistance.

We can either shrug our shoulders and ignore this, or be vigilant, and assist in whatever way we can.

That starts by us saying no to drugs!

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