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Fiji’s Drug Problem: Dealers Getting More Innovative

Fiji’s Drug Problem: Dealers Getting More Innovative
Source: Nature, Live Science
September 09
16:05 2017

For a long time in Fiji the only way to get marijuana was to grow it secretly at home or buy it from the black market.

But today street dealers have found new ways to distribute the narcotic drug to customers wanting to experience its intoxicating effects.

‘Pushers’, as they are colloquially known, now sell the drug from abandoned bean carts, hidden smartly under the cover of the darkness inside.

Four known bean carts found in the Southern Division are located in Amy Street, Vatuwaqa, Pacific Harbour and near the Navua Bus Stand.

Marijuana – also called cannabis, weed, pot, herb and a number of other names – is of course classed as an illegal drug in Fiji.

The most worrying aspect of the transaction is that it is done with frightening ease.

“It’s $5 for a joint. All you do is drive down to the bean cart at night, hop-out and knock on the wooden boards covering it,” said an active user who only spoke under the condition of anonymity.

“Some guy will respond, usually a male, then you just say: brother can I have a joint please- they only sell it in joints. You give him the money after that, get your stuff and you leave.”

A joint is what a rolled up marijuana cigarette is called.

This easy exchange begs the question: Would these dealers sell marijuana to any teenager or child who may approach them?

“Whether they sell it to kids or not, I don’t know; but I’ve never heard of or been in a situation where they’ve asked for an identification card,” the source added.

Another source said that barbeque stands littered across urban centres were also fearlessly selling the drug.

While these latest trends in drug trafficking are largely confined to urban areas, drug smuggling techniques in the countryside have become alarmingly creative.

Well-placed Police sources confirmed that farmers up in the Sigatoka Valley packed marijuana leaves inside flowering English cabbage, which encloses when fully matured. These are then harvested and sent out to be sold.

Women with babies or children travelling on inter-island ferries have also become vehicles of drug smuggling.

The drugs are packaged and hidden inside babies’ diapers or among children’s clothings, sources said.

Prisoners held in remand have also found skilful techniques to evade authorities. They weave the marijuana leaves with sukhi leaves (Fijian tobacco) and hide them, sources revealed.

Users also pack marijuana leaves in rolls of cigarettes, removing half of the tobacco leaves inside, while smoking, to mask the drug’s musty smell.

According to scientific studies, marijuana smoke contains 50-70 per cent more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke.

Ongoing marijuana usage has also been linked to lung ailments, memory loss and a number of other health problems.

A pregnant woman who regularly smokes marijuana is also at risk of giving birth prematurely.

With dealers ratcheting up production and widespread distribution, more needs to be done to curtail this growing drug problem.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

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