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AUCKLAND, 30 AUGUST 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC)—The executive director of the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police organisation says countries in the region used for transiting methamphetamine to Australia and New Zealand are now becoming destinations themselves.

Carl McLennan, also a superintendent in the New Zealand police, says smugglers use drug dependent Pacific people as cheap workers in their illicit enterprises.

The region’s police chiefs met in American Samoa last week with a focus on reducing drug harm in Pacific communities.

They shared their experiences to help prepare countries that have not yet been targeted.

McLennan says a speaker at the conference from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime spoke of how transit countries become markets themselves.

“And I think that’s what we’re starting to see throughout the Pacific now, is a move from the Pacific not only being a point of transit for the movement of drugs but we’re seeing it now become a destination.

“You’ve mentioned American Samoa, but you’ll also be aware of course of issues in places like Tonga as well with the growth and use of methamphetamine within communities,” he said. (PACNEWS)