Kaua‘i’s reaction

Reaction by local residents to the showing of Edgy Lee’s documentary “Ice: Hawaii’s Crystal Meth Epidemic” shows hope, and fear, over the ice problem on Kaua‘i.

“It was really something that needs to be brought to the attention of the whole community. It exposed it and really brought it onto the front page in a sense,” said Payton Hough, a Princeville resident and parent of three children. “It causes people to think of what an impact it is having on our schools, our communities, on our streets.”

Hough said he and his wife are getting involved in learning about the ice problem, and have been going to drug information meetings held at Hanalei School and Kilauea School.

“We’re doing what we can to make sure it won’t continue on our island,” he said.

When asked about some of the causes of the problem, Hough cited lack of recreation for youth, and lack of family involvement in their children, plus the growing problem with finding affordable rentals, and the rise in real estate prices putting the average worker in economic straits.

“The economic pressure is really hitting working class families (on Kaua‘i),” Hough said.

“It’s really sad, everyone cried, it’s really powerful,” said a Westside mother of one immediately following the broadcast. She said seeing the “hardened welfare workers crying” was touching and showed the depth of the problem in Hawai‘i’s society.

The mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said there is a feeling of intimidation on the Westside over reacting against the ice problem.

“I feel really discouraged, this culture is being reticent (about going against the ice problem),” she said.

She said some members of her church are planning to hold signs today, but others were afraid to “because of retaliation.”, “They are disempowered, too afraid to do anything about it,” she said of the ice problem on the Westside, which she said was “really decimating out in Kekaha and Waimea.”

“I hear, ‘no I can’t do that, because they might see me and come get me,'” she said. “They’re going to just let it roll over their grandchildren.”

The Rev. Roy “Rocky” Sasaki, a leader in the islandwide sign holding set for today, said he was encouraged following the airing of the ice documentary.

“I believe we have a good beginning, tomorrow with this sign holding we will send a message to the whole island that we are together in it,” Sasaki said, adding that he hopes the community support will “give people a hope for the future.” “I believe we need to send a bold message to drug dealers, that the community wants to see an end to the drug activity that’s impacting many lives,” he said. “To me it was a wake-up call to all Hawai‘i to be educated to this ice epidemic. There’s no denial that we need to face this problem head on as a community.”

He said he especially appreciated the testimony of recovering addicts.

“The film confirmed again and again the impact on families, teenagers, infants and children,” Sasaki said of the ice problem. “We’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg. I believe we are just beginning to feel the impact on our society and environment.”

Sasaki said, “We need to educate each other and the communities on solutions, we need to have our own drug summits to see how we can deal with this issue.”


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