Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Asia
Trends in Drug Abuse in the Pacific Region


Changes in the proportion of the Australian population who have ever tried selected illicit drugs are presented in table 2. Cannabis abuse increased from 28 per cent in 1985 to 32 per cent in 1991 while barbiturates abuse decreased from (9 per cent to 5 per cent respectively). Small declines were noted in the abuse of amphetamines, cocaine and crack and hallucinogens. Small increases are reported in the abuse of heroin, ecstasy and designer drugs and injected drugs. No change in the abuse of inhalant was reported (see table 2) (NCADA 1985, 1988, 1991).

Table 2            Proportion of the population who have ever tried illicit drugs, drug type, 1985, 1988 and 1991.

Survey year                    1985                    1988                     1991

Marijuana                            28                        28                         32
Amphetamines                       9                          6                           8
Barbiturates                           9                          6                           5
Cocaine/crack(a)                   4                          3                           3
Hallucinogens                         8                          7                           7
Heroin                                   1                          1                           2
Inhalants                                3                          2                           3
Ecstasy/designer drugs          na                          1                           2
Self injected (any illicit)         na                          1                           2

(a)        Crack not mentioned in 1985 survey.
Note:  1985 data adjusted to make comparable with later years.
Source:   NCADA National Household Surveys 1985, 1988, 1991.


Drug abuse is reported to have slightly increased over the last few years (Fiji 1993). Abuse of cannabis among youth, particularly secondary school children, is reported causing great concern (Fiji 1991).


Cannabis abuse is reported spreading to all social strata and to all islands of the country. An increase in psychosis associated with cannabis abuse as well as delinquency resulting from drug abuse is reported for 1990. For 1990, slight increase in the abuse of hallucinogens and stable abuse of volatile solvents were reported (U.N. 1990).

The number of drug addicts undergoing treatment has increased from 28 in 1988 to 90 in 1990. The proportion of patients undergoing treatment for the first time however remained the same (U.N. 1988, 1990).


No information reported by 31st December 1993.


A slight increase in the abuse of cannabis was reported for the year 1986. The cultivation of cannabis by certain tribes is reported to have resulted in the abuse of cannabis instead of alcohol among these people (U.N. 1986).

Abuse of opiates was reported increasing through years 1986 to 1989, and stable for year 1992. Cannabis abuse remained stable for years 1988 and 1989, while some increase was reported for years 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1992. Abuse of stimulants and hallucinogens remained stable through years 1985 to 1989 (U.N. 1985-1989, 1992).


A large increase in the abuse of cannabis and a slight increase in that of cocaine were reported for 1992. The abuse of datura metel was reported as increasing for 1992. These trends have been attributed to the increase in unemployment, especially among young people, and the lowering in prices of traditional cash crops (coffee, copra, cocoa), resulting in more farmers turning to the cultivation of cannabis (U.N. 1992). In 1992, an increase in the number of persons referred to rehabilitation centres with serious mental disturbances and irreversible brain damage was reported (HONLEA 1993).


No information reported by 31st December 1993.


The abuse of cannabis type drugs reported remained stable in 1990 (U.N. 1990).


Drug abuse is rapidly escalating in Western Samoa (Samoa 1993).