24 Jun 2004

Fiji senator links drug rise to church failure

4:22 pm on 24 June 2004

Fiji's Senate has been told that the sharp rise in the number of drug users is a clear indication that the country's churches and religious institutions have failed.

Senator Apisai Tora, a long-time converted Muslim, was speaking during a debate on the new Illicit Drug Bill.

Margot Staunton has the details.

"Senator Tora says indigenous Fijian youths make up the largest number of drug abusers, outnumbering ethnic Indians by three to one."

He says the new Illicit Drug Bill, which provides for fines of over half a million US dollars and life imprisonment for serious drug related offences, is not enough when compared with the billions generated by the drug trade.

His words follow the news that the six asians arrested in connection with the 600 million US dollar drug bust 2 weeks ago.

They're to be be tried under the current, law because the new tougher law won't come into effect until it's been passed by the Senate.