Our biggest security issue

Picture: FILE

This time last year, we reported that Police chief of operations at the time Rusiate Tudravu suggested that methamphetamine could become our biggest security issue if it was not controlled.

The cheap, easy to make, and highly addictive drug, he said at the time, was being produced in the country through a lot of “dirty transactions”.

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

On September 10 last year, Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho suggested that teenagers may also be consuming methamphetamine.

Police, he said, wanted this cracked before it became an “ice” storm. Brig-Gen Qiliho revealed how a mother sought police assistance in August that year for her 17-year-old daughter’s alleged drug abuse including methamphetamine use.

“I don’t want to read a headline that says ‘Fiji’s law enforcement loses control of meth industry’ because it can be controlled,” he stressed.

By April last year, methamphetamine had become the top choice for most Australian users of hard drugs.

An Australian Associated Press report in April last 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 shocking though was the revelation that more than eight tonnes of methamphetamine were shot up, smoked or snorted.

Mr Tudravu admitted then that the internet was being used as a tool to source tutorials on meth-making in Fiji.

The discovery of cocaine packs in outlying islands added to the concern hanging over these drugs and Fijians.

It continues to be a major concern and must be a topic of discussion at all levels of society.

This issue isn’t going away because we want to ignore it. In July this year, Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho revealed the availability of methamphetamine in its liquid form.

The police chief said police had previously only dealt with crystallised meth.

The two main drugs, he said, that were being picked up by police were methamphetamine and cocaine.

Australia and New Zealand, he said, were tightening up on their home front and Fiji was also on the same course.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said as they increased their efforts in the war against drugs on Fiji’s streets, police were also making daily drug-related arrests.

The arrests being made, he insisted, were a good sign that people were informing police about illegal activities. Now more than ever the police need our support to fight this. They need us to be proactive.

The return for drug dealers is lucrative. The end result is sad though. We must say no to drugs.

But we must also question what can be done as a positive response to this frightening situation?

What can the powers that be do, to address the scenarios that have given birth to this dangerous situation?

Let us take the first step to fighting this scourge of society, by being aware.

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