As part of efforts to raise more awareness about drug abuse, a stakeholders meeting including representatives from different religious organisations converged in Suva today to discuss the impact of drug abuse on youths.
The Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Honourable Sakiusa Tubuna officiated at the meeting and said that drugs is affecting our livelihood.
“The recent drug bust in Nadi is evidence of our continued efforts in this battle and our being here today to discuss the realities of these social issues marks a positive step towards brainstorming and implementing proactive measures to discourage Fijians from engaging in illegal activities,” he said.
“Over the years, Government has been spending quite a substantial amount of money in trying to combat the drug trade.
“From hiking and combing through the mountains for marijuana farms to busting peddlers’ homes, drug labs and storage places; a lot of money is used in these operations, money that could be better utilised to upgrade our schools and hospitals, our roads and infrastructure.
“This I believe is the main reason we are gathered here today – to try to reduce and eradicate the roadblocks to a better and brighter Fiji for our children and grandchildren.”
Hon. Tubuna highlighted that the Coalition Government aims to work with different community groups to curb the issue of drug abuse.
“We need to work collaboratively to push through the various alternatives to our youths,” he added.
“We need to engage our young people in more meaningful experiences and use our different platforms to reach out to them, assisting them to realise their potentials and empowering them to become productive and law-abiding citizens of this country.
“We need to target our young ones, rejuvenating and revamping the way we look at things through our religious teachings and curriculum.
“Teach them to respect their bodies, value hard work and to treasure their integrity. We need to target the nuclear family structure; reigniting the value of the family and need to emphasise the importance of the role of parents. It is the family that is at the core of our religious and traditional institutions.”
The meeting was facilitated by the Fiji Council of Churches and the Fiji College of General Practitioners.