Editorial comment – Why we must be engaged
27 September, 2022, 2:00 pm
It’s not something many Fijians may want to talk about, however, methamphetamine is a topic of discussion.
It must be a topic of conversation and be ingrained in the greater scheme of things. National Federation Party (NFP) president Pio Tikoduadua raised an issue last week that obviously upset some people.
He referred to the hard drug as something that was easily accessible as lollipops in Fiji.
We’ll leave aside his reference to the Government and what he thinks about this trend.
Mr Tikoduadua referred to an online news article posted on September 15 by Vice World News titled “Meth is Turning Fiji from a Tropical Paradise into a Narco’s Playground”.
The author claimed he was able to purchase meth in an informal settlement located five minutes from Suva City for $US20 ($F45.42), $US45 ($F102.20) or a gram for $US400 ($F908.47).
The author also claimed drug-associated domestic violence in Fiji had increased.
The NFP president believes the report “clearly pointed out” that the use of hard drugs has spiralled out of control and was “a far bigger disaster than climate change”.
We realise the Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho has spoken about the work going on to battle the issue.
We understand the effort by the police is closely linked to regional organisations and a united front, and there is the drive to try and nullify the negative impact of the illicit trade.
The revelation though that it is readily available close to the city should force stakeholders to sit up and take notice.
We have always spoken about the end of the process, the buyer. The seller and manufacturer both depend on that element of the process to keep the trade thriving.
Then there is the concerted effort to keep it under the radar of the police force.
There is money to be made, understandably! To this end, the police force will need the support of the public, the masses, to be effective. We accept that there would be Fijians who may not be forthcoming with information for various reasons, especially given the financial considerations involved.
This is where awareness should come in, and education about the harm and the negative impact on loved ones.
Then there has to be a greater focus on incentives for those involved in the trade, to get out of it. Perhaps that is something for the powers that be to consider, process and implement.
Again, we are living in times of issues of massive proportions. We have the pandemic, the associated ills that attracted, and the consequences on the family structure for instance.
But we are all in this together. We accept this isn’t something that will go away any time soon, and that it is not a stroll in the park sort of fight.
There are challenges, and there are equally great challenges if we are unwilling to do something about this. This needs the willingness of Fijians to engage, think about the consequences, and join the fight.