Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in Asia


Extent of Drug Abuse

Cannabis is reported as the main illicit drug abused in Fiji (HONLEA 1993). The estimated annual prevalence of cannabis is reported to be 300 and the estimated number of daily abusers 100 (ARQ 1989). The abuse of alcohol is reported to be a greater problem than that of illicit drugs (Fiji 1993). Inhalants are also reported abused with an estimated 100 annual abusers and 50 daily abusers (ARQ 1989).

In 1991, 6 per cent of the total prisoners were reported to be drug abusers (CMO 1991).

Abuser Characteristics

Law enforcement reports attribute drug abuse to poor home background, peer group pressure, poor relationships with parents, lack of self esteem, experimentation and rebellion, boredom, and unemployment (Fiji 1993).

Regional Variations

Drug abuse tends to be concentrated in urban areas (ARQ 1990).


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).

Mode of intake

Cannabis is reported smoked and inhalants sniffed (ARQ 1989).



Serious traffic accidents, gang activities, breakdown of traditional social structures and increase in urbanization are reported linked with drug abuse. Alcohol abuse is reported to contribute to violence, sex crimes, burglary, and robbery (Fiji 1993).



Treaty adherence

Fiji is party to the 1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention and the 1988 Convention.

Structure of National Drug Control Organs

The central government unit responsible for liaison and coordination of national drug control policy is the Fiji Police.

Measures taken with respect to Drug Control

Recently enacted laws and regulations:
None reported.

Licensing system for manufacture, trade and distribution:
There is a licensing system. No narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances were reported being manufactured in 1990.

Control system:
(i) Prescription requirement: There is a prescription requirement for supply or dispensation of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. In 1989, it was reported that prescriptions were not required for supply or dispensation of narcotic drugs, since those were controlled by the Government Pharmacy of the Ministry of Health. (ii) Warnings on packages: The law requires warnings on packages or accompanying leaflet information to safeguard the users of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. (iii) Control of non-treaty substances, if any: None reported. (iv) Other administrative measures: In 1988, it was reported that the Government of Fiji planned to establish a national bureau of substance abuse. Nothing further as to the creation of this office was reported in subsequent years.

Social Measures


Penal Sanctions related to social measures: In 1990, courts applied measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation or social reintegration for a drug-related offence neither as an alternative and in addition to conviction or punishment. In 1989, such measures were applied in addition to conviction or punishment.

Other social measures: 1989 saw the introduction of an anti-drug week campaign in schools as well as the insertion of drug education issues in school curricula. The campaign was strongly supported by non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups. The Police drug unit also carries out a drug abuse education programme in schools, work places, churches, youth and parent groups as well as the general communities.



National Strategy

The national strategy of drug abuse control in Fiji is reported to be based on both supply reduction and demand reduction activities (Fiji 1993).

The national enforcement agencies involved in activities to reduce availability of illicit drugs are the Fiji Police and the Customs and Exercise Departments. The enforcement section of the Pharmaceutical Division of the Ministry of Health is responsible for the control of illicit drugs, especially psychotropic substances (Fiji 1991).



Primary Prevention

Preventive education is reported carried out in primary and secondary schools through lectures, and forms part of the curricula in secondary schools. Drug education is part of the basic training of social workers and law enforcement personnel. An anti-drug radio youth programme was aired between 1991 and 1993 (CMO 1991).

The Ministries of Education and Information and the Police Department are responsible for the development and implementation of appropriate programmes in the area of drug abuse. These programmes are aimed at informing the general public of the dangers of drug abuse, bringing about attitudinal changes among drug abusers and reducing the dependence of drug addicts. Target groups are mainly school children and youth in general (Fiji 1991).


Treatment and Rehabilitation

Drug addicts are reported to be treated in a psychiatric hospital. No information regarding the type of treatment given is reported. Treatment and rehabilitation is reported provided to drug abusers in prisons (CMO 1991).



Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences

In 1992, a record 249 persons were arrested for drug related offences. Most arrests related to possession of small quantities of herbal cannabis. Arrests of cannabis growers is reported to be increasing (Fiji 1993). The majority of those arrested were males in the 17 to 25 age group, mainly for consumption offences, while a minority group aged between 25 and 40 years old was arrested for cultivation and trafficking offences (HONLEA 1993).


In 1992, a total of 7.240 kg of cannabis (4.918 kg in 1991) and 719 cannabis plants (154 in 1991) were seized. A substantial increase in both seizures and cases of drug related offences was reported for 1993 (HONLEA 1993).

Supply Sources of Drugs

Fiji is reported as an important trafficking point in the Pacific. Cannabis is grown by some farmers as a commercial crop, instead of traditional food crops because of the monetary attractions in the illicit drug trade. Cannabis is reported to grow in many parts of Fiji, mainly in the Western Division (Fiji 1993).

References and Notes

* The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years 1988-90.

ARQ 1989,1990. Replies to the UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years 1989 and 1990.

HONLEA 1993. Report of Fiji to the Eighteenth Meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Asia and the Pacific. Seoul, 13-17 September 1993.

Fiji 1993. Drug Situation in Fiji. Report of Fiji to the ESCAP Drugs Data Collection Workshop. 18-20 October 1993.

Fiji 1991. Country Situation Report Fiji. Country report to the Meeting of Senior Officials on Drug Abuse Issues in Asia and the Pacific. Tokyo, Japan, 13-15 February 1991.

CMO 1991. Reply to the Questionnaire regarding the seven targets of the comprehensive multidisciplinary outline of future activities in drug abuse control (CMO) for the year 1991.

The general background information is taken from: Human Development Report 1993, published for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, Oxford University Press, Demographic Yearbook, New York, United Nations 1993.