Drug Problem in Hawaii - Public Health Research Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1823 Words
Date:  2021-06-17

Hawaii was acknowledged as the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959. It comprises of five counties with Honolulu as the state capital. Eight of its main cosmopolitan islands dots the Central Pacific Ocean. According to a censor conducted in 2011, the state had approximately 1.2 million residents from diverse racial origins with the majority being Asians. The Native Hawaiians are third with an estimate of 9.4% of the population (Helm, et.al, 2014). Hawaii attracts diverse people with the number of tourists increasing each year, but they face several downsides. The state intends to keep treading the righteous path, but some social problems such as high cost of living, population size, traffic congestion, homelessness, and drug epidemic among others threaten their dreams. Illicit drugs, drug abuse, and addiction are the primary challenges to their vision, which is likely to vanish with time. The overall drug concern to Hawaii Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and other worried organizations remains relatively consistent over the past years.

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The Nature of Drug Abuse in Hawaii

Different types of drugs are circulating in Hawaii. Crystal Methamphetamine is also known as Ice is a drug of choice and the most significant drug threat in the state. Hawaii has the highest number of ice users as compared to the other states in America. Crystal Methamphetamine is smuggled in large quantities from southwest regions of U.S and Mexico. The Mexican drug trafficking organizations and other local criminal groups continue to supply the drug to every corner of the state through postal, courier and parcel services. The Western States Information Network (WSIN) survey indicated that in 2011, ice related critical events exceeded those related to other drugs combined. Cases related to drugs were 2612, but 51% had a direct relationship to methamphetamine influence.

Marijuana is the second most used drug in Hawaii, and its use continues to escalate among the juveniles. Most of the marijuana in Hawaii is homegrown and contain the high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as compared to cannabis from other states or those imported. Hawaii remains the national leaders in the production of high-grade cultivated marijuana either harvested from indoor farms or from large outdoors grow sites. In 2015, the state legalized the use of marijuana for medical motives. The satisfactory devastating medical conditions for the use of cannabis include cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe pain and nausea among others. Therefore, those possessing identification cards or passports would register as marijuana users on prescription by their physicians.

Alcoholism is the severe and persistent substance abused in the United States, and Hawaii is not exceptional to the unfortunate circumstance. In fact, binge drinking is a common alcoholrelated issue statewide. At least, 18% of adults and 14% of adolescent engage in binge drinking. Though these rates are declining over the years heavy, drinking is still a persisting issue (Okamoto, et.al, 2014). In most cases, the overall Hawaiis rates are comparably higher as compared to those of the nation. For example, the rates of heavy drinking in 2011 were approximately 1.3 times higher than the national rates.

Other drugs in Hawaii includes cocaine commonly known as crack among the residents. Most of its users are adults between the age of 18-30 especially the Asians and whites. The processing of cocaine into cracks is done locally and in Pacific islands making it affordable and readily available. Cocaine is common in the streets, bars and game rooms. Heroin is also prevalent in these recreation centers. The Mexican black tar and the South-East Asian varieties are the most demand brands in Hawaii, but their supply is limited. Lastly, club drugs are common particularly among teenagers, young adults, and military officials. Club drugs include ketamine, GHB, hydrocodone and LSD and are sold in dance clubs, raves, nightclubs, and concerts. Drug concern is a persisting issue in Hawaii because most of these drugs are available locally and at affordable prices such that even adolescents afford to buy them. For example, a report from the National Survey on Drugs Use and Health (NSDUH) across America ranked Hawaii among the top ten states troubled with teenage drug abuse.

Reasons Why Drug Abuse Is a Menace in Hawaii

Despite constant discussion on negativity and impacts of substance and drug abuse, people are still engaging in the practice making it a social concern related to everybody in the state. Substance abuse has adverse outcomes making it a global issue, which is detrimental to individuals, their families and the community as a whole (Pobutsky et.al, 2014). Some of the reasons why drug abuse is a primary problem in Hawaii are:

Increased mortality rates.

Cases of drug overdose are common, especially among addicts. For instances, Centers for Diseases Control found that drug overdose related cases rose by 83% from 2006 to 2014. The growth rate was more than double the national average of 37%. Therefore, the epidemic is not only in Hawaii but also in the mainland with ice, opioids, and heroin accounting for the highest number of these cases. In 2013, 61 out of 120 drug-related deaths were associated with methamphetamine. Poisoning is also a primary mechanism of injury-related deaths accounting for 9 out of 10 poisoning cases (LevRan et.al, 2013). However, according to Dr. Wright who works with a nonprofit organization in Honolulu death of teenagers is on rising as compared to other groups. Most of the overdose cases are not intentional as drug users take in the same amount of drugs they have always used, but its quality keeps changing with time. The loss of parents, relatives, friends and citizen through drugs is a painful occurrence, and this mainly affects the most productive group in the state.

Increased crimes rate.

Distribution and abuse of cracked or powdered cocaine, heroin, ice, alcohol and other drugs lead to criminal activities such as homicides, child abuse, and neglect, assaults, hostage situations among others. Experts entirely blame the increasing crime rates on drugs particularly especially those related to property offenses. For example, they are more than 140 gangs in Hawaiis streets distributing drugs at retail levels. The groups dominate the business and continue to engage in other criminal activities to boost their incomes. In fact, some are relocating from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Hawaii. Methamphetamine abuse alone accounts for over 79% of drug related crimes.

Increased government expenditure.

The state government in Hawaii in cooperation with the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) provides the necessary leadership in developing and delivering quality substance abuse prevention and treatment services for the residents. They also collaborate and coordinate with other agencies to provide essential services. The state government controls revenue diversification to ensure that they leverage other funding sources apart from Medicaid and Medicare services. The residents expect quality assurance and improved recovery-oriented systems of care from their government. For example for the fiscal year 2013-2014, $21,901, 238 was allocated to cater for substance and drug treatment serves and over $5,000,000 was set aside for prevention services by the federal government. The state of Hawaii spends about 11.2% of its budget to address risky substance use and addiction. Some of this funds if invested in other economic sectors Hawaii would thrive and record high levels of development and growth.

Violent perpetration and victimization.

Drug use causes aggression and violence mostly among the youths. The large-scale epidemiological research by U.S Department of Health and Human Services found that increase in drug use is directly proportional to ferocity. Drugs influence behaviors of consumers who are likely to start domestic violence, fights, verbal aggression and display some unsocial characters such as staying away from their peers (Helm, et.al, 2014). In some cases, the consequences of their action are costly as some end up in prison for murder charges.

How Extensive Drug and Substance Abuse Is In Hawaii

The large economy in Hawaii operates against its just society. In fact, those who earn in the legitimate economy end up spending part of their income in the black sector. For instance, narcotic trade serves almost every corner of the states streets giving rise to immorality and crimes among other dangerous dealings. The most affected population are the youth. More than 60% of the most productive generation in the 21st century are directly using drugs for leisure or due to peer influence. The problem has intensified to the extent of hitting schools. Public school tutors in an interview by Dr. Suzanne Gelb had observed that the school was helpless against the tide of drug culture rooted firmly in several homes. Gelb found that drug-related cases and the increasing number of troubled adolescent and children are scaring (Mangieri, 2015).

According to the interview, the teacher specified that the problem is bigger than what the number demonstrates. From a survey conducted between 2014 and 2015, Olomama High recorded the highest number of drugs victims approximately 11.1% of the total students population. Kaimuki High had the lowest number of drug users about 4.1% of the population (Mangieri, 2015). However according to the teacher this just a quarter of the affected children. Parents have little time to spend with their kids, and when they find the time, they are drunk. For this reasons, students end up prescribing medication to themselves to relieve some of the pressure at home and the same is evident at school.

Parties Affected By Drug and Substance Abuse in Hawaii.

The federal government is the first interested party affected by the extensive use of narcotics in Hawaii. United States government have an obligation to look after the welfare and safety of their citizens. Therefore, to do so, they work in close collaboration with the state government who are also engulfed in the menace. The two have to raise finances to treat and run preventive programs such as campaigns and creating awareness. Some of these events and programs are expensive and require the intervention of non-governmental organizations. The three bodies have worked dynamically to sustain low levels of drug and substance abuse.

The community and families of addicts and victims of drug dealings are the other segments facing challenges with persistence of drug and substance abuse. Currently, the rate of dependency is raising with most of the young people depending on their parents and community for a living. Also, family breaks up, and divorces are common because of domestic violence (Pobutsky et.al, 2014). Lastly, schools, social amenities, and businesses suffer as well. Investors are finding it difficult to enroll a good number of employees in their companies as the energetic generation has gotten into drugs leaving them helpless.


In conclusion, the government and non-governmental organization have embarked on creating awareness in education institutions and the society. However, their efforts are in vain people especially those benefiting in the illegal business keep fighting for the legalization of all drugs in Hawaii. Therefore, their efforts bore minimal results. For this reasons, Margaret Wheatley said that numerous problem-solving sessions lead to front lines where decisions are made based on power instead of intelligence. Hawaii in the coming years might decriminalize all drugs just as Portugal did sixteen years ago.


Helm, S., Okamoto, K., Kaliades, A., & Giroux, D. (2014). Drug offer as a context for violence perpetratio...

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Drug Problem in Hawaii - Public Health Research Paper Example. (2021, Jun 17). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/drug-problem-in-hawaii-public-health-research-paper-example

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