The Drug Problem in Hawaii
Hawaii is a beautiful island that often graces the covers of travel magazines. With its lush greenery, white sand beaches, and blue waters, the big island may look like heaven on earth, but the people who call it home are just like anyone else. Hawaiians face the same struggles, challenges, and addictions as the rest of the world.
Read on to learn more about the drug problem in Hawaii, including the common abuse of crystal meth, and where to find help with addiction recovery on the Big Island.
The Drug Problem in Hawaii in Stats
According to the 2009-10 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 8.76% of Hawaii residents reported the use of illicit drugs. While this stat is fairly close to national averages, the real story is found in the high rates of meth use in Hawaii.
In 2012, stimulants (including methamphetamine) surpassed marijuana as the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in the state, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration.
The Honolulu Civil Beat cited one study that reveals Hawaii leads the country in workplace meth use with a rate four times that of the national average. The Civil Beat also points out that only 1.4 million people live in Hawaii, yet “law enforcement agencies seized nearly 750 pounds of meth with an estimated street value of almost $12.5 million” between 2013 and 2015.
Since meth first arrived to the Big Island in the 1980s, law enforcement and lawmakers have found themselves struggling to get rampant drug abuse under control in the face of serious health issues for addicts across the state.
The Dangers of Crystal Meth Use in Hawaii
While national headlines focus on the legalization of marijuana and the opioid epidemic, Hawaiians are fighting their own battle with crystal meth, an extremely dangerous illegal drug. Also commonly known as “ice,” meth is a man-made stimulant that can be smoked, snorted, or injected to achieve a euphoric high marked by an increase in energy and alertness.
While the increased libido, confidence, and motivation that come with a crystal meth high may sound like a pretty good deal, a long list of side effects reveal the dangers of crystal meth use. Short term side effects include erratic or violent behavior, significant weight loss, severe mood swings, tremors or convulsions, hyperthermia, elevated blood pressure, rapid or irregular heart rate, and more.
Long term side effects are even more concerning and include delusions, paranoia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, the feeling that bugs are crawling across your skin, body sores as a result of picking at your skin, breathing problems, irreversible damage to blood vessels, stroke, coma, and sudden death.
Crystal meth also wreaks havoc on users physical appearance, who often exhibit acne, open sores, scars, and “meth mouth,” a term used to describe the rotting teeth commonly found in meth users.
In addition to putting themselves at risk of severe harm, crystal meth users also endanger those close to them. Children can get a second-hand high if their parents smoke crystal meth in the home. They may also be neglected or abused when addicted parents spiral out of control and lose their ability to focus on anything other than obtaining more meth.
When a woman uses crystal meth in pregnancy, the baby is at an increased risk of premature birth and birth defects like cleft palate or heart abnormalities. These babies are often very small and nutritionally stunted. Crystal meth also passes through breast milk, so nursing mothers further endanger their babies when using crystal meth while breastfeeding.
The widespread use of crystal meth plays a major role in the drug problem in Hawaii, as users and those they love face serious dangers when trapped in addiction.
Addiction Recovery in Hawaii
If you or a loved one has ever tried to quit crystal meth, you know just how addictive this substance can be. Withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings, feelings of depression or anxiety, loss of energy, itchy eyes, increased appetite, and irregular sleeping patterns. Because withdrawal is so uncomfortable, most users turn back to drug use to relieve the symptoms.
At Hawaiian Island Recovery, crystal meth users benefit from a medically supervised detox to manage and minimize those symptoms, increasing the likelihood of a successful detox. Next, residents benefit from a well rounded treatment plan that empowers them to achieve holistic health and live a life free of addiction.