FORUM ANTI DRUG WORKSHOP

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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT September 7, 1999

The problem of drug abuse in Pacific Island countries will be discussed next week when participants from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa meet to draw up a master plan for combating drug abuse in their countries.

The four day workshop at the South Pacific Forum Secretariat headquarters in Suva, Fiji is the first of its kind with the proposed master plan to serve as a model for other island communities.

"This is a very important issue given that a number of Forum Island Countries face a significant increase in the domestic cultivation, trafficking and consumption of the drug marijuana. We need to take early preventive measures against drug abuse through educational and cultural programs and the involvement of role models.

"The drug problem in the region should not be seen as the responsibility of one agency alone, but as an issue that requires the cooperation and involvement of all relevant government agencies and the community at large.

"The workshop will show to the community that governments through their key agencies, Police, Customs, Health, Education and the Attorney Generals Office, the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and the Forum Secretariat can and are working together on this important issue on behalf of the community," said Mr. Iosefa Maiava, Acting Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat.

The workshop is part of the five-year Regional Law Enforcement Capacity Development and Cooperation Programme (1998-2002) administered by the Forum Secretariat.

The UNDCP is co-hosting the workshop and will provide technical expertise while the Secretariat is providing financial and logistical support for the 15 participants to attend.

The program will introduce the concept of the drug control master plan and how it is formulated so that the participants can apply these lessons when designing national master plans in their respective countries.

Country papers will also be presented outlining the social, economic and political background to the drug control situation in Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea; current drug policies and programs; the institutional framework and recommended future initiatives for drug control and prevention.

For additional information, contact: Ulafala Aiavao at UlafalaA@forumsec.org.fj

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