Walking on thin ice

THE shocking revelation that methamphetamine, commonly known as ‘ice’, is being manufactured locally is cause for great concern.

Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed the use of hard drugs such as ice have been linked to some criminal activities in the country.

He said the manufacturing of such drugs was not only done in clandestine labs.

Police, he said, had come across apparatus being utilised to manufacture the drug.

“You don’t need those big clandestine labs to do these things now,” he said.

The biggest methamphetamine producing lab was discovered at Laucala Beach in Nasinu by police during a bust in 2004.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said the production of meth was now easier than it was in previous years.

The drug, he said, could even be manufactured out of the back seat of a car.

Ice, however, is targeted at a higher end clientele, he said.

Police have discovered trends in the sale of the drug, with pushers selling it at high-end nightclubs and approaching ‘well-off’ people stopping over to refuel their vehicles at service stations for instance.

Brig-Gen Qiliho is right in saying that for Fijians to realise the frightening effects of the use of such drugs, we just need to look at Australia and New Zealand.

For a small nation like Fiji, the effects would be devastating.

It raises the issue of whether we are actually prepared as a nation to deal with the frightening negative impact of ice.

This is a drug that has wasted lives in many of the world’s large cities.

This is a drug that respects no demarcation lines or boundaries.

As the commissioner said, the effects of methamphetamine compared with marijuana is even worse.

The strain on the economy in looking after these people through the health ministry will be enormous.

We are looking at a drug that is deadly for many reasons.

Police can confirm it is easily produced. It is highly addictive and one wonders how readily available it is now.

Paramedics and other first responders abroad talk about dealing with the ugly side of ice.

They talk about violence, seizures and addicts who are almost uncontrollable. They talk about the nightmare that is ice. They see it first hand.

This is what we must be aware of.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said there was a need for people to talk about the issue of drugs and be more aware of it.

There obviously is no easy solution.

The best course of action now is to be aware of the negative effects of ice on our body.

Education is perhaps the key.

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