NATION

PM: Hard Drugs, Alcohol Abuse a Major Concern for Fiji

During the opening of the Drug and Alcohol Unit at St Giles Hospital yesterday Mr Bainimarama said it had been reported that over the past few years, there had been an increase in patients with substance use disorders.
07 Nov 2019 10:51
PM: Hard Drugs, Alcohol Abuse a Major Concern for Fiji
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with St. Giles Hospital staff after opening the Alcohol and Drug Unit (AOD Unit) at the hospital in Suva, on November 6, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Substance abuse, whether excessive alcohol consumption or the rising use of hard drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine, is a growing concern in Fiji, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

During the opening of the Drug and Alcohol Unit at St Giles Hospital yesterday Mr Bainimarama said it had been reported that over the past few years, there had been an increase in patients with substance use disorders.

Making the need for a rehabilitation unit at the hospital all the more pressing.

He said his Government was taking serious steps to root out this problem wherever it existed, because while recovery was immensely important, prevention was the key.

“The truth is, we would much prefer to invest our dollars in ensuring no child ever has exposure to hard drugs in the first place, taking a proactive approach rather than a reactive one,” he said.

That’s why he said that with the help of international partners like Australia and Korea, they were taking bold action to better patrol the seas, with a mission to stop the flow of illegal drugs through Fiji, as they moved on to their intended markets in Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Through a dedicated fleet of ships and highly-trained staff, he said Government was dedicated to curbing trafficking of drugs from foreign countries into Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama has encouraged Fijian parents to do their part in this critical fight.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while talking to a St. Giles patient after opening the Alcohol and Drug Unit (AOD Unit) at the hospital in Suva, on November 6, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while talking to a St. Giles patient after opening the Alcohol and Drug Unit (AOD Unit) at the hospital in Suva, on November 6, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

“Set a good example for your children. Help them find happiness and fulfilment in other ways –– and give them the emotional support that they need to choose a path that is free of substance abuse,” he said.

“Talk to them openly at a young age about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and guide them to a future free of addiction and dependency.”

He said he heard that it took a whole village to raise a successful child.

“It will take the entire nation to come together and give every Fijian man, woman and child the chance to live life free from exposure to hard drugs,”Mr Bainimarama said.

“To every parent, friend, and neighbour out there working to keep our streets clean from these deadly substances: You have an ally in my Government and in the Fiji Police Force.”

He said from prevention to education to rehabilitation, they must continue to address substance use disorders –– and all psychiatric conditions –– from all sides. By doing so, he said they could enter into a new age of mental health care in Fiji.

Edited by Percy Kean

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