U.S deputy Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell

The American Government is prepared to provide direct assistance to Fiji in combating the escalating cases of drug trafficking in the country.

U.S deputy Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell while speaking during a round-table discussion with journalists at the margins of the recently concluded Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in Hawaii, said their drug enforcement teams are prepared to share their expertise.

He said the issue of drug trafficking and high usage of illicit drugs amongst the population needs to be confronted directly and the Government of Fiji has to be commended for openly acknowledging its prevalence and its commitment to address it.

“The efforts to combat this issue are sophisticated and require effective and strategic responses.”

“We have observed that drug trafficking routes are increasingly crossing through the Pacific and have offered our support to the Fijian Government.”

“While other Governments have side stepped from this issue, Fiji has been very direct about it and has indicated its desire to work with the United States other countries and we intend to help them as much as we can.”

“The challenge lies in the evolving nature of drug trafficking with small scale manufacturing and methods to evade detection.”

He said they recognise that this problem affects not only the United States but also Australia, Asia, Europe, South and North America and addressing it is a top priority of the Biden administration.

“We also recognise and acknowledge that synthetic drug like fentanyl presents an enormous challenge to our societies.”

“One of the things that the Biden administration has started is to work on component elements that combine to make fentanyl. The vast majority of these components are produced in China.”

He said at a recent meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in San Francisco, the major deliverable was the steps the Chinese Government committed to look at the component elements to make fentanyl.

“In addition what we will also review overtime is to look at the many ways in which fentanyl making components make their way into the western market both in United States and Latin America.”

“We have to be effective and cunning in our strategies to confront them. We believe this is one of the most important elements we need to work with, not just in Fiji but around the Pacific.”

Deputy Secretary Campbell added that the other thing we have to realise is that drugs are not only transiting through but its usage is becoming very high, not only in the U.S, but the tragedy is now hitting parts of Australia, Asia, Europe and both North and South America.

Meanwhile, major drug busts in the Western Division earlier this year resulted in a significant seizure of 4.8m tonnes of methamphetamine which was intended for re-exporting and 13 people were arrested and are currently facing charges in court.