Editorial comment – Standing up together

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A bag containing the hard drug Methamphetamine. Picture: FT FILE

The revelation that the Fiji Police Force made 39 arrests in relation to methamphetamine between the months of January and August this year will attract attention.

It actually takes the meth issue and places it firmly in the faces of the masses! Statistics showed that of these 39 arrests, 10 were made in April alone, eight in August, six in March and July, four in May and June while February recorded one arrest.

Statistics also showed that for the past five years, from 2017 to 2021, a total of 292 arrests were made, and 89 of the arrests were submitted with 11.23kg of methamphetamine seized worth $5.6 million.

We learn that the year 2020 recorded the highest number of arrests. One hundred arrests were made in relation to methamphetamine, 2019 followed with 92 arrests, 46 arrests in 2018, 43 arrests in 2021 and 11 arrests in 2017.

We learn that statistics also showed that arrests were also made through detection of methamphetamine by Customs and the Fiji Detector Dog Unit, which is a collaboration between Fiji Police, Customs and the New Zealand Police.

Of these types of arrests, two were made in 2017, four in 2019, three in 2020 and four in 2021.

Between 2017 and 2021, the Australian Federal Police and the US detected and made two arrests in relation to methamphetamine being imported to Fiji.

We’ve just gone back on the statistics and they should convince us about the extent of the meth problem. We’ve said this before.

We must keep the topic alive and in the faces of the masses. Fijians must be aware of the dangers of meth, the harsh reality of work behind the scenes, both from the perspective of the dealer and manufacturer, the buyer and user, and the law enforcement part of the equation.

We can only hope this isn’t just the tip of the ice-berg so to speak. What we are also seeing demands our attention.

It must force us to sit up and take note.

You just have to read about the negative impact of the drug on communities in Australia for instance, to realise just how dangerous it can be.

We have read about addiction and the impact of the drug on the health of our people.

We have read about the impact of the drug on users in Australia, and the roll-on impact on their loved ones.

We have read about its manufacture and how dangerous it can be for families living nearby or within a certain distance from those making it.

We now have to ask ourselves, are we doing enough? If we are, then let’s talk about.

Let’s discuss the measures in place, and encourage wider participation.

Let’s do it for our loved ones, and for the nation! Let’s make this a topic of discussion that is motivated by the need for us to be united in the fight against hard drugs.

Let’s look for solutions.

Let’s talk about alternatives and offer positive suggestions that may be good for those engaged in this illicit trade, and hopefully empower them to turn a new leaf.

Let’s get to the root cause of this trade.

We know that where there is a demand, supply will be available! We’ve always said that the police needed our support!

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