Tonga to convene national symposium to address illicit drugs problem

A two-day symposium to look at Tonga’s growing illicit drugs problem will be held next month.

The first ever National Symposium on Illicit Drugs will be hosted by the Action Plan Committee (APC) on Illicit Drugs on the 6th and 7th October 2021 at the Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Domestic Wharf.

The symposium provides stakeholders and the public the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences to promote collaboration and best practises on how Tonga can work together to improve its preparedness and response to the emerging problems caused by illicit drugs.

“Three years ago at the opening of Parliament in 2018, His Majesty King Tupou VI stated that the greatest challenge for Tonga is illicit drugs. Aside from the global pandemic of COVID-19, illicit drugs remain a great challenge for Tonga and the region. We must step up our collective efforts locally and regionally to combat this grave issue,” said Lord Fielakepa, Acting Commissioner of Police and Chairman of the Action Plan Committee on Illicit Drugs.

The 2-days symposium will be officially opened by King Tupou VI who reiterated in a message conveyed at the soft closing of Tonga’s Legislative Assembly 2021 that Tonga still faces many challenges – illicit drugs was on the top of that list.

Presenters will speak on the 3 strategies under the National Illicit Drugs Policy (NIDP) focusing on Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction and Harm Reduction and panel discussions will follow.

“Saving our children and communities from the serious harm caused by illicit drugs demands our whole country to help and this symposium will be a great forum to hear views and work together. Policing is only a part of a whole system required to combat illicit drugs,” said Drug Enforcement Taskforce Acting Deputy Commissioner Halatoa Taufa regarding the Symposium.

The theme for the National Symposium on Illicit Drugs is “Working together for a Drug Free Tonga.”


Photo file Tonga Police  Caption: Illicit drugs and illegal firearms confiscated in a drug raid in Tonga