Increase in Female and Juvenile Offenders in Fiji’s Drug Offences

Drug offences in Fiji have seen a notable rise in the number of female and juvenile offenders in 2023, alongside the consistent involvement of male offenders and individuals aged 18 to 35, according to the Fiji Police Force.

A comparative analysis of drug-related offences between January and April 2022 and the same period in 2023 saw an increase in juvenile offenders from five cases in 2022 to twelve cases in 2023. The majority of arrests continued to be male offenders, with figures escalating from 311 in 2022 to 367 in 2023. Additionally, the number of female offenders rose from 8 in 2022 to 13 in 2023. Within both years, the highest number of offenders fell within the 18 to 35 age bracket, accounting for 199 cases in 2022 and 254 cases in 2023.

The West and North divisions of Fiji experienced a significant increase in drug-related offences. In the West, reported cases rose from 80 in 2022 to 122 in 2023, while in the North increased from 85 to 144 cases. The South division recorded a decline in cases from 88 to 60, while the East division experienced a slight decrease from 42 to 40. The Central division also reported a decrease in cases, from 24 in 2022 to 18 in 2023.

Analysis of the types of drug-related offences revealed that the most prevalent offence in both 2022 and 2023 was the unlawful possession of illicit drugs, with figures increasing from 284 cases in 2022 to 341 cases in 2023. The second most common offence was the unlawful cultivation of illicit drugs, which increased from 27 cases in 2022 to 38 cases in 2023. Offences involving controlled chemicals and equipment remained unchanged at zero in both years. The number of cases related to unlawful importation and exportation, as well as the unlawful use of illicit drugs, remained relatively stable.

In terms of drug analysis, marijuana remained the most prevalent drug in both 2022 and 2023, with 310 cases in 2022 and 361 cases in 2023. However, methamphetamine witnessed a significant increase in cases, surging from 5 in 2022 to 22 in 2023. The number of cocaine cases decreased from 4 in 2022 to one in 2023.

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