Though it’s known as one of the greatest surfing destinations in the United States, Hawaii has a problem boiling beneath its clear blue waters. Have you ever considered the drug problem in Hawaii? When you think about the Big Island, you probably think about the endless beaches, incredible surfing, and other amazing activities. Maybe you visited on a trip with your family or you think about the breathtaking pictures in glossy magazine spreads. Whatever your experience with it, it’s not likely you consider the drug use.
With all of the pictures of shimmering beaches and muscled people strolling across the sand, you might not consider the problems in Hawaii. But just like many other states in America, the state deals with its own alarming drug problem. It’s not surprising that alcohol flows freely in the vacation spot. In fact, nearly 50 percent of Hawaiians ages 18 and older used alcohol in the past month alone.
Unfortunately, other harder drugs also see their fair share of use in the Aloha State.
The Drug Problem in Hawaii: The Numbers
Every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducts the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This yearly survey collects statistics on drug and alcohol use as well as mental health disorders in people ages 12 and older in America. They go further by breaking down the numbers by demographics like age range and state of residence.
The most recent NSDUH survey data available is from the 2014-2015 survey. During these years, just over one million people lived in the state of Hawaii. According to the latest survey, the following numbers of Hawaiians used these illicit drugs in the past year alone:
- Marijuana: 133,000 people (12.62% of the population)
- Cocaine: 21,000 people (1.99% of the population)
- Heroin: 2,000 people (0.23% of the population)
Although the numbers by themselves may not seem shocking, when you consider that the numbers continue rising every year you might reconsider. Also, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin have a serious impact on the lives of people who use them. The fact that any large number of people use these drugs should be a cause for concern.
Heroin Use on the Rise in Hawaii
Nationwide use of heroin continues rising every year. Aided by the pharmaceutical industry, when people can no longer afford painkillers they turn to a cheaper alternative. 2,000 people might not seem like a lot of people to you but the drastic effects of heroin make up for the smaller number of people using it.
When the federal government cracked down on doctors for their lax drug prescription requirements, heroin use jumped. The trend was no different in the tropical vacation spot. Hawaii News Now reported on a federal heroin bust when agents seized 18 pounds of the opiate at the Los Angeles International Airport. The package’s destination? Honolulu.
Hawaii’s Methamphetamine Problem
Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, also sees higher rates of use in Hawaii. Some estimates place the number of addicts as high as 120,000. A reported nearly 35 percent of men incarcerated in Honolulu were brought in with the drug in their system.
The drug originally found its way into the state during the early years of Chinese methamphetamine trafficking. Traffickers distributed it in the Philippines and Korea among other areas in South East Asia. It then made its way to Hawaii in the pockets of large Asian communities who moved over.
Though it was first introduced in the 1980s, crystal meth still has a hold on the state. The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) announced it as the greatest threat of the drug problem in Hawaii. Unless addressed directly, the problem will not go anywhere but further under the radar.
Do You Know Someone with a Drug Problem in Hawaii?
Despite the drug problem in Hawaii, it is also an amazing location to seek recovery. It’s impossible to say that the Big Island is any worse than other states throughout the country. While some may see lower overall rates of use, hotspots for drug use exist in every one of the states in America.
Hawaii offers countless activities to pursue after getting clean. When you attend a treatment center like Hawaii Island Recovery, you receive a thorough introduction to what the Aloha State has to offer. You might think it’s challenging to find new things to do after getting clean and sober but this tropical state is full of things to do.
Do you know someone trying to quit drinking or using drugs? Call us at 877-721-3556 to learn more about the treatment options available. Someone will help you determine the type of care that will best help your loved one. Make the call and seek the assistance you need today. You will never have to struggle alone again.