Newshawk: The War on Drugs IS
one distinction Hawai'i absolutely does not want: According to
Attorney Ed Kubo, our state has the worst crystal meth
problem in the
At a federal commission hearing
over the weekend, Kubo told participants
that as many as 40
percent of all people arrested in Honolulu tested
use of this methamphetamine.
Kubo claims that as many as
30,000 residents of Honolulu are hard-core
crystal meth users and
three times as many use it "recreationally." Crystal
commonly involved in violent crimes.
unsettling thing about crystal meth is what it does to the
Unlike many other illegal drugs, crystal meth tends to make a
paranoid and violent. Specialists say it is also more
addictive that other
drugs, including cocaine and
All in all, not a pretty picture.
many reasons for the rise of crystal meth in Hawai'i,
the fact that we are a "gateway" state from the Far
East, where crystal meth
has been manufactured and used as far
back as World War II.
Also, officials say the rise in the use
of this drug paralleled the growing
scarcity and high cost of
marijuana following successful drives to tamp
down, if not
eliminate, the marijuana trade in the Islands.
To the degree
this is true, it was a bad tradeoff because crystal meth has
more potential to make the user harmful to others than
Ideally, of course, there would be no use of
illegal drugs in the Islands,
from marijuana through crystal
meth. But that is unrealistic. Indeed, even
if all illegal drug
use ceased today, there would still be social harm and
law enforcement and health authorities due to the abuse of
drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.
It was impressive
that Kubo's prescription for dealing with this problem
begin with more laws, more arrests, more sentencing and more
Instead, he called for an increase in the quality
and quantity of treatment
for drug users both in prison and after
release. He urged the creation of
more residential treatment
programs as well as expansion of health insurance
today's maximum of 30 days -- hardly enough time.
Kubo suggested would cost money, certainly. But the investment
saved lives and social order would be more than worth the
Far too often, policy-makers are more willing to spend
money on reacting to
problems rather than on paying for
solutions. That might make raw political
sense, in that throwing
money at problems produces immediate action; funding
requires patience and a time frame that extends far beyond
But Kubo is right. If we don't invest
now in treatment and prevention, this
health epidemic will only become worse.
15 Oct 2002
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2002 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of
Gannett Co. Inc.
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/meth.htm (Methamphetamine)
Note: For more on ice and marijuana
eradication in Hawaii go to