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‘I’ve seen terrible, terrible violence’: cocaine and meth fuel crime and chaos in Fiji

The Pacific island nation best known as a holiday destination is grappling with a growing drug problem

In the early hours of a Saturday morning in the city of Nadi, on the west coast of Fijis main island, Isaiah* is sitting in a Burger King drinking Fanta through a straw and explaining how he became a drug dealer.

He started five years ago, aged 13, selling cigarettes and marijuana. Now he sells cocaine and methamphetamines.

My family were selling drugs in Suva, he says. They said there would be a time when me and my cousins would take over. We start training, training, training.

Isaiah inhabits Fijis underbelly, far removed from the tourist trail of white sand beaches dotted with coconut palms. Here, away from the five-star resorts and snorkelling safaris, police are reckoning with an explosion in the domestic use of what they call white drugs cocaine and methamphetamines which until a few years ago were almost unheard of in the country.

Law enforcement says increased domestic drug use in Fiji, as well as in other Pacific nations such as Tonga and Samoa, has been fuelled by a combination of factors: growing economies, booming tourist industries and the fact these countries lie on a transnational drug shipping route.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jun/24/ive-seen-terrible-terrible-violence-cocaine-and-meth-fuel-and-chaos-in-fiji

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