Fiji not immune from scourge of illicit drugs: UNODC

May 17, 2024 12:36 pm

Without robust and comprehensive responses, Fiji will continue to grow into an expanded marketplace in terms of drugs.

United Nations Office on Drug and Crime Country Manager Collie Brown, while speaking during the National Talanoa Session on Responding to Illicit Drugs in Fiji Symposium, highlighted that Fiji has not been immune from the scourge of illicit drugs.

Brown says the social consequences of increased drug use are significant, but unfortunately, health and harm reduction services remain limited in Fiji.

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According to UNODC, Fiji is becoming a target with a growing population of people with increasing demand for drugs.

“And as we continue to see evidence of extensive trafficking into and through the country, organized crime networks have the ingredients in place to continue to grow their business, including the territory to produce, the access to precursor chemicals, established trafficking routes, and the cross-border relationships to move their products to market.”

Brown says that despite the challenges that are currently facing Fiji there are numerous opportunities to address the issue in a real way.

“We must explore a balanced strategy that does not rely only on supply reduction through law enforcement efforts, but certainly and equally addressing the need to expand access to treatment and rehabilitation to reduce demand which attracts these criminal networks.”

The UNODC’s most recent world drug report in 2023 noted that drug use continues to be high worldwide.

In 2021, one in every 17 persons aged 15 to 64 had used a drug in the past 12 months.

According to the report the estimated number of users grew from 240 million in 2011 to 296 million in 2021.