Shine A Light

Shine A Light: Meth Use Up Among Youth

The Police source said meth was widely available in the streets of Suva. He said they had noticed a lot of young people now taking the drug, especially in nightclubs.
09 May 2023 12:15
Shine A Light: Meth Use Up Among Youth
Nightclubs are one of the popular night spots where young people find conducive to take drugs. Source: Downunder Facebook page

The increased domestic drug use has reached a point where more young people are becoming serious addicts of synthetic drugs, especially methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine, also known as meth or ice, is a synthetic drug, and ingredients used to produce it are chemical substances.

Young people are also used as facilitators in drug transactions.

In certain cases, Police find that locals are paid with the commodity (illicit drugs) rather than money for facilitating the transaction.


Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua said it was concerning that children on the streets were used in the drug industry.

“The nation is not doing enough on the war on drugs,” he said during an interview yesterday.

Police sources say the use of methamphetamine in the streets of Suva and nightclubs has grown out of hand.

Several nightclub bouncers we spoke to admit that many young people, who frequent the clubs, are meth users.

The St Giles Psychiatric Hospital treats meth addicts, most of whom are young people in their 20s.

Fiji Police Force Director Narcotics Serupepeli Neiko admits the country’s war against illicit drugs is only going to get worse.

Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua.

In the streets of Suva, children we had highlighted in our Shine a Light column over the previous weeks are not new to drug peddling.

Many of them prefer smoking marijuana or sniffing industrial glue.

A Police source said they often find a can or bottle of glue when they search the children’s pockets, but many buy marijuana to smoke.

A 17-year-old, whom we had spoken to previously, said the sale of meth on the streets of Suva was a normal business transaction.

He does not take or sell meth, but he is aware of the street operation. He said the sale of meth was done in groups, and usually by those with money.

However, he does buy marijuana from adult male pushers around town and sells it to make money.

He said whatever money he earned, he used to buy marijuana and whatever he needed to survive.

Director for Narcotics Serupepeli Neiko.

The Police source said meth was widely available in the streets of Suva. He said they had noticed a lot of young people now taking the drug, especially in nightclubs.

“It is common also with sex workers. We find that both females and males are taking the drug, because needles used to inject meth into the bloodstream are found inside the clubs.”

Mr Neiko said illicit drugs were now easy to access given the shift from the country being a transshipment hub to a market of illicit drugs.

The Police source said meth was also cooked locally, which gave people easy access to the drug. He said the Force had identified certain drug hotspots.

Mr Neiko said: “We cannot rule out the possibilities of local manufacturing. This is also an area the Fiji Police Force is working on with key stakeholders local and abroad.”



Friday and Saturday are when bouncers in Suva usually find traces of meth use in the nightclubs.

These are the busiest days for any nightclub.

It’s either needles found in the women’s lavatory or males caught taking the drug in their own lavatory.

Bouncers we approached spoke on the condition of anonymity. They say that the use of meth in clubs and the streets of Suva has increased, especially among young people.

“People are not scared to use it; they take meth as if they are smoking marijuana. They have little knowledge of its impact,” a bouncer said.


Another bouncer said he has seen many boys taking meth in the clubs.

“There are people who deliver the meth to these people. Those who deliver the drugs are usually given cars to transport the drugs. There are usually arrangements already made for its delivery.”

Another bouncer said if they found someone taking meth, they were escorted outside, but there were instances where nothing was done.

“We would just tell them not to do it inside the club, but only in the lavatory.”

But the smoking of marijuana is common in the clubs.

“When people are seen smoking marijuana, they are thrown out because we don’t allow any kinds of drugs in the clubs.”


A Police officer, who patrols the streets of Suva at night, said they were aware that meth was now used in clubs.

Mr Neiko said individuals who cultivate, deal, survive and thrive through the proceeds of illicit drugs live within our communities.

He added the effort against illicit drugs had been a joint effort.

Between 2017 and 2021, the Force, through its key partner stakeholders, seized 11.23kgs of meth, saving the country $5.6 million.

“We’ve also noticed successes in terms of information that are being provided by members of the community.”



A polydrug user (meaning he injects himself with all kinds of drugs) said there were enough mechanisms in place to curb usage.

Speaking on the condition of not being identified, he said: “The strong arm approach (traditional law and order) still being used by Police is proving to be completely inadequate and ineffective.”

He said meth was cheaper and more abundant than ever. He added some meth was produced locally and was still very addictive.

“So long as drugs like meth are anti-social, they will remain the hands of black marketers. The distribution is very bottom heavy with most sellers simply doing it to finance their own habits.”

He emphasizes the need for awareness, viable alternatives, rehabilitation and some acceptance that addiction (in all forms) is complicated and tough for all stakeholders.



University of the South Pacific psychologist Dr Annie Crookes said the powerful stimulation of the brain’s behavioural motivation processes make the drug very addictive.

But there are detrimental effects of repeated and longer-term use of meth. This includes depression and suicidal thinking, anxiety, and paranoia, sleeping and eating problems, and heart disease.

“Additional practical problems … loss of employment or dropout of education, loss of relationships and isolation from family, potentially loss of housing,” Dr Crookes said.

“For younger people, it may be that without financial resources (i.e. an income) they may have already turned to involvement with criminal gangs and organisations as a necessary way to fund their addiction.”

Dr Annie Crookes is a psychologist at the University of the South Pacific.


Dr Crookes said rehabilitation was a big task for Government and health services to provide.

“It means a lot of investment and setting up a range of recovery and rehabilitation activities and spaces,” she said.

Meth addicts display various kinds of symptoms, some more severe than marijuana cases.

Symptoms depend on how long they have been taking the drug.

Those with aggressive symptoms indicate the severity of their drug intake, and they would require a much longer rehabilitation period.

St Giles clinicians do not have the capacity nor the specialty to treat meth addicts.

“The clinicians are really hoping that investment is made for drug rehabilitation specialist centers to reduce the pressure on them,” she said.

Dr Crookes said treatment should focus on their health and brain to remove the addiction and help their physical recovery.



In a statement he made as the president of the National Federation Party in September 2022, Mr Tikoduadua questioned why the previous Government and Police were tightlipped on the fight against importation and manufacture of methamphetamine.

In August 2019, Mr Tikoduadua had suggested that the Government at the time establish a special parliamentary committee to look at the problem holistically.

This motion was rejected.

However, as the current Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Tikoduadua is still insisting on a parliamentary committee to look at the issue in isolation.

“Police are completely stretched. It is getting too cumbersome in terms of the Police to handle it alone…our drug problem needs a whole of nation approach,” he said.


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