Tuesday, May 17, 2022 |
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Drug experts and community members alike all seem to agree that Kaua‘i must have an adolescent drug treatment center to combat a pervasive problem on the island.
For decades the county has teetered, sorely lacking a treatment leg in the tripod approach to dealing with the drug issue. The county has been trying to stand on prevention and enforcement only, yielding mediocre results, but missing the key rehabilitation stage to reintegrate past users back into society.
Without this critical component, Kaua‘i’s keiki who lose their way by heading down a road of drugs and other bad decisions have no treatment center to enter to turn their lives around after the law catches up with them.
We have far too many juveniles on island whose idea of partying is popping prescription pills. A rapid trickle-down effect ensues when they get hooked and start a career in petty theft to fund their new habit.
It is truly a shame for residents to speak out as they did last week against the two sites the county has proposed for an adolescent drug treatment center. We are too small an island to make this a NIMBY issue.
Kaua‘i is our backyard. Drug dealers live down the street from you; drug users live on your road. Why not congratulate the county on finally making this long-overdue decision and volunteer ways to help cure this plague instead of hamstringing the process.
The county’s anti-drug coordinator says it will take between four and five years following the site determination before construction starts on any buildings. We can’t afford to delay this any longer.
Public input is important, but we need to put what is best for the community as a whole at the forefront. We should be proud to have a drug treatment center for youth sited in our neighborhood.
Let it serve as a statement that says, “We care about our kids.”
We encourage the county to continue its dialog with citizens, but remain firm in the commitment to make this a reality.
Given the years officials have spent dragging their feet and dodging this politically sensitive issue altogether, we should move forward in an expeditious manner and get a drug treatment center sited and built as soon as possible.
Rather than watch the same teens filter in and out of a broken system, draining our societal reserves, let’s make a move that contributes to our overall health.
The NIMBY thinking will continue to yield sickness, crime and even death. Let’s get beyond our own self-interest and truly do what’s best and absolutely needed for Kaua‘i.
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