20 Oct 2005

Police work only one way to fight region's drugs problem, says Fiji NGO

2:17 pm on 20 October 2005

The Fiji Council of Social Services says illegal drugs remain a big problem in the region, and police work is only one way to stop their abuse.

Police in the Marshall Islands have recently seized 2.5 million US dollars' worth of cocaine - a drug which last year also washed up on a beach in Vanuatu.

Methamphetamine has been made in Fiji, and traded across the Pacific to Guam and American Samoa.

There has also been a seizure in French Polynesia.

The executive director of Fiji's Council of Social Services, Mohammed Hassan Khan, says drugs will flourish as long as there is demand.

"There are several marijuana plantations in Fiji and this is despite police raids, etcetera. Most of these things are in the interior and they continue to flourish."

Mr Hassan Khan says his organisation works to stem demand for drugs through co-ordinating rehabilitation.

He says many young people in the Pacific are unemployed and aimless and they're easy targets for drug dealers.