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Cultivating and consumption of illicit drugs in Tonga is rising steadily

(Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 28/11/2016)

Statistics on the use of illicit drugs is on the rise in Tonga.

This includes possession, cultivation, selling and transportation of illicit drugs during the past five years.

The highest figures during the period was in 2015 with 114 cases. This was a rise from 49% to over 60% of illegal activities involving illicit drugs in 2014.

In 2011, the cases increased from 14 to 31 in 2012, while 2013 recorded 30 cases.

The largest amount of drugs confiscated was the recent bust in ‘Eua of more than 500 marijuana plants.

Meanwhile Tonga Police is yet to confirm the number of drugs confiscated and destroyed – and the ones taken overseas for further tests.

Upon conviction for illicit drug offenses, fines will not exceed TOP$1million or imprisonment for a maximum of 30 years or both.

The unlawful possession, manufacture, cultivation, use and supply of illicit drugs shall be liable upon conviction to a maximum fine not exceeding TOP$750,000 or imprisonment for a maximum 25 years or both.

It is also understood that the Ministry of Health’s Psychiatrist – Dr. Mapa Puloka has spoken of many people in Tonga affected by the use of drugs with may ending up at the Hospital’s Psychiatric Ward.

© Radio & TV Tonga News 2016