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Illicit drug use and responses in six Pacific Island countries.

Devaney ML, Reid G, Baldwin S, Crofts N, Power R

  • Journal Drug and alcohol review

  • Published 19 Dec 2006

  • Volume 25

  • ISSUE 4

  • Pagination 387-90

  • DOI 10.1080/09595230600741396


We report here on the illicit drug situation in six Pacific nations: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The report is based on the 'Situational analysis of illicit drug issues and responses in Asia and the Pacific', commissioned by the Australian National Council on Drugs Asia Pacific Drug Issues Committee. The situational analysis was a comprehensive desk-based review; data sources included published and unpublished literature and information from key informants. A range of psychoactive substances have been used traditionally across the Pacific region. Cannabis is the by far the most common and widespread illicit drug used in the six Pacific Islands reviewed. Drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine are not used commonly due to their high cost compared to the average income. Currently, there is no overall regional or country-based illicit drug policy for the Pacific and few treatment programs; limited data exist to aid in understanding illicit drug use and the harms associated with its use in the Pacific. This review highlights the urgent need for strategic alcohol and drug research in the Pacific as a foundation for the development of policy.