Publications & Reports

Drug and Alcohol Use in Fiji: A Review

Paumaul ES, Roberts G, Schmich L, Power R
Fiji School of Medicine, Burnet Institute of Melbourne, Australia


The use of a range of drug types, including alcohol, are part of the traditions of many, if not all, communities in Fiji.

The Fijian and Indo-Fijian communities have long traditions of psycho-active drug use in the context of ritual and ceremony.

It has been noted that seafarers, together with indentured labourers, brought cannabis or Indian hemp traditions to Fiji, with the sugar cane plantations providing fertile ground for cultivation.

Meanwhile, kava was widely cultivated and consumed by ethnic Fijians. The Indo-Fijian community slowly adopted kava drinking rituals and gradually others began to increase their consumption.

In addition, marijuana use emerged and spread with increasing popularity amongst youth, especially males.

This literature review explores the current licit and illicit drug situation in Fiji. It considers peer-reviewed articles identified using Pub Med, Health Internet Work Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) searches and ‘grey’ literature, including published and unpublished reports, and web based resources (e.g. UNDOC, WHO).

The review found that there is limited data available to assist in understanding the current situation and associated harms in Fiji, but notes more studies and reports have examined alcohol consumption patterns and associated social problems when compared with studies on illicit drug use.


  • Journal: Pacific Health Dialog
  • Published: 01/03/2011
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 165-171