Editorial comment: Taking a shot at hard drugs

JUST last month deputy commissioner of police Rusiate Tudravu said methamphetamine could become our biggest security issue if it’s not controlled.

He 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, could be set up anywhere because the ingredients and recipes were easy to find on the internet.

Yesterday, 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 last month 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 this year, in neighbouring Australia, 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.

In Fiji, DCP Tudravu said the internet was being used as a tool to source tutorials on meth-making.

The discovery of cocaine packs recently in outlying islands adds to the great concern now hanging over hard drugs and Fijians.

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

This isn’t an issue that will just go away because we want to ignore it.

One wonders whether hard drugs are actually 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? How serious are we in dealing with this issue? Such times demand the active participation of all stakeholders to support the police in its campaign to fight hard drugs.

This is a fight we must support. That means being responsible and taking ownership of the issue. Let’s join the fight against hard drugs.