Monday, May 20, 2024
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Increased drug cases at St Giles a concern: Ravunawa

FijiFirst Member of Parliament Penioni Ravunawa says as an Opposition MP, he is compelled to talk about the increased number of patients held at the St Giles Hospital due to issues concerning drugs and substance abuse.

According to statistics, the number of substance-related admissions skyrocketed to an unprecedented 103 cases in January alone.

In a statement, Ravunawa said an unnerving trend emerges when analysing data from March and April with figures ranging from 50 to 100.

“Even more troubling is the rise in cases involving increasingly harmful substances such as cannabis, methamphetamines, and alcohol. Current preventative measures aren’t doing enough, and we’ve reached a crisis point. The overwhelming reality is that our youth are being consumed by this destructive tide of substance misuse,” he said.

The Opposition MP called on the Government to turn this desperate situation around before it becomes even more uncontrollable.

Ravunawa said Dr. Pandit, the Medical Superintendent at St. Giles Hospital, stressed on the immense importance of early intervention.

He said too many patients seek help only once they are severely affected by drugs, resulting in complications and making rehabilitation exponentially more difficult.

“A shift towards a preventative care model focusing on early detection is crucial to confronting and controlling this escalating issue.”

“It is high time for our lawmakers to pass legislation that frames drug addiction not as a criminal issue but as a health issue. We need comprehensive healthcare policies that emphasise prevention, early treatment, rehabilitation, and social reintegration of affected individuals.”

Ravunawa said the power is in our hands— if we can unite, work cohesively, and strive with purpose, we can curb the tide of this crisis and protect generations to come.

He added that as a representative of the Fijian people, he pledged to advocate tirelessly for these issues on every available platform, both in the parliament and on social networks.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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