US Dept. Of Justice Ranks Hawaii Big for Drug Problems
Drug problems put a black mark on the Paradise state. Hawaii comprises eight main islands and a 1,500-mile chain of islets covering more than 6,400 square miles. The islands include Hawaii, Kahoolawe, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, and Oahu. The island of Oahu and the city of Honolulu–the major drug transportation hub in the state–are the focal points for the flow of drugs into the islands. Honolulu, the state capital, is located on the most populated island of Oahu. Honolulu has more than 377,000 residents–nearly 10 times the population of Hilo or Kailua, the next largest cities.
Factors Contributing to Hawaii’s Drug Problems
Hawaii has approximately 1.2 million residents and ranks forty-second in population.
It has the most racially diverse population of any state. Asians account for 41.6 percent of the population, while Caucasians represent 24.3 percent of the population, the lowest percentage of any state. Native Hawaiians account for 9.4 percent; Hispanics, 7.2 percent; and African Americans, 1.8 percent. The remaining 15.7 percent is mixed race. The term Pacific Islander refers to Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, and individuals from other islands located in the Pacific Basin or those descended from a combination of two or more of these groups. The Pacific Basin includes Hawaii, Guam, China, and Japan, among others.
Hawaii’s reliance on imported consumer goods makes it vulnerable to the maritime transportation of drugs into the state.
Hawaii is a transshipment point for methamphetamine destined for the Pacific Basin from the West Coast and is a source of supply of marijuana for cities in the continental United States. Because of the high volume of drugs transported into and through the state, Hawaii was designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) in fiscal year (FY) 1999.
In Hawaii there are more than 140 street gangs with over 1,500 members.
Most gang-related crime is attributed to Filipino, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, and Tongan street gangs. These gangs distribute most drugs at the retail level throughout Hawaii. Hispanic street gang activity is increasing. Some street gang members have relocated from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Hawaii, particularly Honolulu.
Drug problems are serious concern in Hawaii. According to the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), 6.7 percent of the respondents aged 12 and older in Hawaii reported using any drug in the past month. Nationally 6.3 percent of respondents reported past month drug abuse. According to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), the total number of treatment admissions for drug and alcohol abuse in Hawaii increased over 50 percent from 1994 through 1999. During the same period, the number of treatment admissions for drug and alcohol abuse remained stable nationwide.
Per capita spending on substance abuse in Hawaii is significant. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University reported that Hawaii spent $368 per resident in 1998 on substance abuse-related services, ranking the state seventh in the nation including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. That same year Hawaii spent $430 million of its annual budget (8.6 percent) on substance abuse-related programs that focused on justice, education, health, child/family assistance, mental health/developmental disabilities, public safety, and the state workforce.
The Hawaii Drug Problem Also Includes Children – In The News
The honoluluadvitisor.com reports that methamphetamine use in Hawai’i is not a recent phenomenon. Experts say they have heard accounts of people smoking methamphetamine on the Leeward Coast of O’ahu as early as the late 1970s but the widespread public outcry and the political push to do something about it are new. Alarm about rising popularity of smokable meth, also known as “batu” or “ice,” circulated in law enforcement circles for many years, and accounts of the spread and effects of the drug popped up in media accounts throughout the 1990s. To learn more Click Here
If you or a loved one has an addiction call Hawaii Island Recovery at 866-906-6911. We can help.