Editorial for Wednesday — July 30, 2003

• Drug “summits”

Drug “summits”

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona kicked off a statewide series of drug “summits” last night.

The presentations are in response to the statewide outcry over the “ice” epidemic that is hitting Hawai‘i harder than any other state, according to federal crime statistics.

On O‘ahu and the Big Island anti-drug marches have filled streets with local residents crying out for law enforcement to crack down on ice dealers and users, as well as for some solution to this huge social problem.

On Thursday, Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s drug “czar” Roy Nishida is holding a meeting at the Kaua‘i Marriott that will feature an O‘ahu-based expert who will show the public what illicit drugs in use on Kaua‘i look like, as well as what kind of drug paraphernalia to look for if you suspect your children or other family members are drug users or dealers.

Meanwhile, the drug problem continues to grow on Kaua‘i and other islands in Hawai‘i. It’s to the point where if any teenager or young adult is involved in a crime here drug use is suspect.

Calls have been coming in to The Garden Island concerning the use of four-wheel drive vehicles by drug dealers and drug users so they can get far away from police cruisers and the prying eyes of local residents who might turn them in.

In some cases, it is said the four-wheel drive vehicles are used to go to remote beaches that have entry areas that aren’t blocked by large boulders.

The movement by our county and state leaders to combat the ice problem is commendable, but soon the public will need to see some concrete results like a number of drug dealers behind bars, a reduction in drug-related crime and possibly drug use checks in public schools.

The crime situation has other residents to the point of talking about organizing private patrols of streets and businesses to help flesh out the police coverage on Kaua‘i.

While this situation isn’t to the point of blatant crimes like gang drive-by shootings found on the Mainland, if you ask around the Island you can easily find individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by the “ice” epidemic. Some just live in fear of drug dealers who live in their neighborhoods. Others have had their businesses, their vehicles or their homes broken into to supply goods to pay for drugs. Still others have children or other family members who are flushing their lives – and the gray matter in their brains – down the toilet through continued use of ice.

In the long term, if “ice” isn’t brought under control we face social problems of truly epidemic proportions in coming generations born five, ten or twenty years from now. Now is the time to act with the resolve to win this battle


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