Treatment center will ‘save our kids’
On Aug. 20, 2021, my son, Austin Thronas, died on the side of the road, in his truck, of a fentanyl overdose.
He was only 26 years old with a beautiful infant daughter, family, and a full-life of love, happiness and experiences ahead of him. He was born and raised here on Kaua‘i, in Wailua Homesteads, attended KIDS Preschool, Kapa‘a Elementary School, Kapa‘a Middle School, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, Kapa‘a High School, and played Kapa‘a Pop Warner and Kawaihau Little League. He loved every part of living on Kaua‘i, and planned to spend the rest of his life here.
In so many ways this is wrong, and it hurts so much. This loss has brought our island’s drug problem front and center, especially in our generational local families that have lived here all our lives. Parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties, sisters and brothers of my son’s teammates and classmates, have expressed their grief and sadness. Others are fragile — as they share their own fentanyl near-death experience(s), I see they are still worried if their child will be next.
To all the state and county elected officials, movers and shakers and powers-that-be:,
On June 27, 2013, I testified at a community meeting on the Adolescent Treatment & Healing Center, sponsored by the County of Kaua‘i Committee on the Status of Women, at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center.
I testified in favor of the treatment center, and begged the community to please understand the teen drug epidemic is real and everywhere, and how the treatment center was important to help our kids heal, recover and learn how to be productive adults, here on Kaua‘i.
Land was generously donated, construction was completed, and finally May 2019, everyone celebrated, Kaua‘i finally had a treatment center! But then it didn’t. The Kaua‘i Adolescent Treatment Center has been blessed and celebrated, but has not been used even once, for the purpose that it was built.
To date, how many teens has the Kaua‘i Adolescent Treatment Center helped with drug addiction? Zero.
How many teens will the Kaua‘i Adolescent Treatment Center help while it’s closed? Zero.
The fentanyl drug problem is very real. It is here, and our kids are dying.
You have the opportunity to save at least 16 lives. What is it going to take to open the doors?
I am more than happy to sit with any one of you, to try to explain what it’s like to wake up every morning knowing your child has died so unnecessarily, with so much life to live, of a drug overdose. What it’s like to look at my beautiful, 9-month old granddaughter and to know that she will never feel her daddy’s hug again.
Knowing that I raised my hand and asked my community leaders for help with a problem eight years ago, and the solution sits there completed but not being used to serve our kids, is shameful.
I’m asking the adults to do their job, figure this out, and get the Kaua‘i Adolescent Drug Treatment Center opened so it can save our kids.
Tracy Fu, Kapa‘a