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Health Ministry works with police to address substance abuse

April 5, 2019 12:23 pm
Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete [left] and Opposition MP Lynda Tabuya

The Health Ministry is working with its environmental health inspectors and police to address the issue of substance abuse.

Opposition MP Lynda Tabuya questioned the Minister responsible, in parliament today about the mental health of children involved in glue sniffing.

Tabuya noted that they are aware of incidents of glue sniffing by children under the age of 18 in certain parts of the Central division.

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“This is a very huge concern in our communities – certainly for the communities in Nasinu as it is readily available. Just like the sugar tax on the industries on those selling sugar water. What policies can the Government come up with to regulate or at least put a ban on the access of glue.”

Responding to the concern – Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says glue sniffing is a learned behavior.

“We identify the particular areas or homes if we can and then give it to police because first and foremost that is an area for the law enforcers to support us in. In terms of ongoing care, is that if we do identify children, we have the mechanisms in place like the decentralized mental health program and also we rely on counselors and psychologists.”

The Minister says counselors and psychologists provide a lot of support to the ministry in regard to this issue especially Pacific Counselling Services.

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