War on illicit drugs | Police warn of meth production, collusion with pharmacies

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Acting Police Commissioner Juki Fong Chew during a media conference at the Government Building New Wing press centre in Suva on Thursday, Sep 21, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Acting Commissioner of Police (ACP) Juki Fong Chew says methamphetamine is being produced in Fiji through prescribed medicines that could be obtained from pharmacies around the country.

He said meth was not only found in Suva but also in Vanua Levu.

“So, there are a lot of arrests that have been made, not only on green, but also on white and on the streets, not only here in Suva but in Vanua Levu too. Meth is in Vanua Levu,” Mr Chew said.

“They are being bought; they are also being cooked in the country.”

He said people could search for how to manufacture meth on the internet and “there are a lot of chemicals that are available at our pharmacies”.

“They come and they do trial and error. With trial and error, you get that white residue, you put it in a plastic bag, and an ordinary person thinks ‘oh this is meth’, it’s all trial and error, but whoever takes it, they will get sick.”

Mr Chew said police had increased their effort on the war against drugs.

“It’s not just, you can get it over the counter and once it’s prescribed by the doctors, then a person is eligible to buy it over the counter.

“But if the pharmacist and the person have been colluding to get this over the counter to manufacture meth, then we have to go that way.

“Why are they colluding? Maybe because of money or something else?”

Crime statistics released by Fiji Police on Wednesday showed that of the 161 drug cases recorded for the month of August, 17 cases were meth-related.

A primary component of methamphetamine is pseudoephedrine.

This is a drug which can be obtained over the counter, through a doctor’s prescription for nasal congestion, sinus congestion or other infections.