Editorial for Thursday — September 25, 2003

• Ice documentary

Ice documentary

Rapt interest across Kaua‘i and the rest of Hawai‘i in the unprecedented simulcast of Hawai‘i filmmaker Edgy Lee’s “Ice: Hawaii’s Crystal Meth Epidemic” documentary showed that we are facing an epidemic, and that the average person is unaware of the effects of ice across our communities.

The epidemic is widespread and includes a tearing apart of neighborhoods and families, the destruction of hundreds, if not thousands, of young lives. The economic impact on the State of Hawai‘i and the local economy is immense. And our future prosperity, and safety, is at stake.

The documentary showed the roots of our meth problem, and the source of the drug, which is mostly from outside the borders of the United States. On top of the social problems flowing out of the wrecked lives of ice users, the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money is leaving Hawai‘i, sucking away some of the cream of the Island’s prosperity.

There is no single solution to this problem, as the documentary clearly showed. It needs to be attacked by law enforcement and our judicial system, by educators and social workers, by religious leaders and by the resolve of parents in focusing on their children’s lives.

Even if the ice problem ceased to exist today, we would still be paying for it for years to come in the poison it has brought to too many lives on Kaua‘i. However, we are looking at an epidemic that may have not yet peaked.

An underclass is growing in Hawai‘i, and this underclass is largely rooted in ice use and abuse. It is made up of homeless, of addicts, of young babies with chemical imbalances due to their mother’s ice use. It is made up of lost businesses, and the moving of productive workers and employers into persons dependent on the state welfare and prison systems, and thus upon the taxpayer.

Hawai‘i’s high cost of living is going to go up as the ice epidemic grows for the reasons listed above. Public safety in the land of aloha may become a major issue as addicts steal and rob more and more to support their habit, and the criminal element that supports and profits from the addicted becomes more powerful in our society.

A big question is why so many of Hawai‘i’s residents are turning to ice as a way out of reality.

The sign holding campaign set for today is a sign that Kaua‘i’s residents are waking up to this problem.

Hopefully more of Kaua‘i’s residents will know what they can do to personally play a role in winning this war, for the direction of our island’s future is at stake.


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