The harsh reality of drug use amongst Fijians has reached the next level, as it is now being used as a coping mechanism by many.
This also comes as according to UNODC’s World Drug Report 2021, cannabis potency has quadrupled in some parts of the world over the last two decades.
The percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40 per cent.
UNODC says with mental health conditions also on the rise worldwide, it has seen a rise in drug use disorders.
Volatabu Group Chief Executive, Kalesi Volatabu says post COVID-19 and with restrictions eased, the drug trend has increased and there has been an influx in the number of people using hard drugs.
Volatabu says the majority of Fijians are using hard drugs as a coping mechanism as they are facing challenges.
“People opt for hard drugs because it’s a false fantasy. It takes them to different place so that they cannot worry and stress anymore. During COVID-19, it kind of stalled it. Now that everything is open, more and more people are getting involved. We are going to lose more and more of our young people.”
Volatabu says during their outreach pre-COVID-19, the youngest Fijian found with methamphetamine was an 11-year-old.
The UN says between 2010-2019 the number of people using drugs increased by 22 per cent, owing in part to increase in the global population.