Strategy targets Fiji’s drug epidemic

June 12, 2024 4:53 pm

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has issued a stark warning about Fiji’s growing drug crisis, calling it a major threat to the well-being and survival of people.

He says the crisis extends beyond individual addiction, affecting families, communities and society as a whole.

The Prime Minister highlights the severe impact on young people, who lose the chance to realize their potential and achieve their dreams due to addiction.

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In response, he says the Coalition Government has approved a National Counter-Narcotics Strategy which will run from 2023 to 2028.

Rabuka states that this strategy aims to reduce the demand and supply of narcotics, minimize harm, reform legislation, improve data collection and information sharing and establish a drug addiction treatment centre.

It also focuses on fostering partnerships and international cooperation.

“The drug crisis and epidemic taking place today is also fueling an unprecedented increase in incidences of HIV AIDS. HIV AIDS cases continue to increase daily, and the risk-taking behavior of drug addicts will blight personal lives and health, and will have a negative impact on our families, on our communities, and our nation. Addressing the issue requires all of our efforts, all of us.”

Rabuka outlines that the strategy will be implemented through collaboration among government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, faith-based groups, NGOs, the media and economic institutions.

He adds that a key development in this initiative is the creation of the Fiji Counter-Narcotics Bureau, an independent institution under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.

The Bureau will be responsible for law enforcement, investigations, prosecution, intelligence gathering and raising awareness in collaboration with other key agencies.

To support this initiative, Rabuka says that Cabinet has approved the development of the Fiji Counter-Narcotics Bureau Bill to define the Bureau’s functions and powers clearly.

The draft bill will be subject to public consultation before being presented to Parliament.

Rabuka made these comments this morning while opening the Drug Prevention and Mind-Lecture and Healing Program at the FMF Gymnasium in Suva.