Editorial comment – The real deal

US Department of State Diplomatic Security Service special agent Billy Lewis. Picture: RAMA

SO now we are told people are wanting to produce methamphetamine right here at home!

US Department of State Diplomatic Security Service special agent Billy Lewis believes it is becoming apparent that Fijians and other nationals are not only importing and exporting methamphetamine.

They are “wanting to cook and produce the drug in clandestine labs in Fiji!”

This is a worrying turn of events.

It’s filled with its very own web of danger as well.

Mr Lewis said this was disturbing since there were many hazards and dangers that came out as a result of this.

To produce methamphetamine or “ice”, he said, chemistry was involved.

“You have to go to universities and colleges to become a chemist. However, individuals now are learning via word of mouth and doing research on the internet,” he said.

What is frightening though is the fact that these labs are dangerous to everyone associated with them, he said.

“Not only is it hazardous to the household, but to the neighbourhood and the community. Also the first responders are put at risk. It is toxic and there are fumes in the air and they have to wear protective equipment,” he said.

This is a critical piece of information that must be disseminated to the masses.

It must become part of the campaign to fight methamphetamine.

People who are engaging in this have no respect for the lives of others.

They place lives at risk with their actions.

They must face the full brunt of the law.

In fact our challenge is to be proactive, vigilant and understand the negative implications of the production of this hard drug.

In August last year police chief of operations ACP Rusiate Tudravu warned methamphetamine could become our biggest security issue if it’s not controlled.

He said the cheap, easy to make, and highly addictive drug, was being produced in the country through a lot of “dirty transactions”.

Meth production labs, he said, could be set up anywhere because the ingredients and recipes were easy to find on the internet.

Last month, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarana sounded a warning against drug dealers using Fiji as a transit point.

“When it comes to our border security, we need to protect our people from the devastating impact that illegal flows of trade – particularly hard drugs – can have on a society’s development,” he said.

By April last year, methamphetamine had become the top choice for most Australian users of hard drugs for instance.

An Australian Associated Press report that month stated three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA, a stimulant drug, and more than 700kg of heroin were consumed in Australia between August 2016 and August 2017.

What was staggering though was the revelation that more than eight tonnes of methamphetamine were shot up, smoked or snorted.

This issue will not just go away because we want to ignore it.

Are hard drugs cheaper than alcohol and cigarettes?

Are we appropriately dealing with the hard drug issue?

Do we truly know the extent of the spread of meth and its usage for starters?

How serious are we in dealing with this issue?

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