Hawaii Drug Use Trends
The state of Hawaii was admitted into statehood in 1959 and is the youngest state in the union. Located around 2,400 miles from the U.S. mainland, Hawaii is surrounded completely by the Pacific Ocean and consists of 4 counties which are dispersed over an area covering 7 major islands. With such diverse geography, the state of Hawaii is also diverse in terms of its communities and people. The state has a population of about 1.3 million, and is home to a number of different cultures and races which shape its traditions and culture including Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, Caucasians, Japanese, Filipinos, Chinese and other Asians. There are several major substance abuse problems facing the state, so it is important for the residents no matter how remotely located from urban areas in the islands to know where to go to for help if they need it.
Nearly 50% of the residents of Hawaii aged 12 years and over report having used alcohol in the past 30 days. The highest prevalence rate is among residents ages 21 to 34, over 62% of which report recent use of alcohol. This problem begins to affect Hawaiians at a very early age, with one in every four 9th graders (27.2%) reporting monthly alcohol use, and by the age of 13 around 1 in 4 youth in the state have used alcohol. The rate of use among high school seniors is much higher at around 43%. One in ten Hawaiian teenagers report past month binge drinking, 44% of young adults ages 18-25 report binge drinking, and around 12% of adults age 21-29 report heaving alcohol use. Over 7% of young adults in Hawaii report being alcohol dependent and alcohol is the second most serious problem facing Hawaiians, with the current use of alcohol being at its highest level in recent years and showing no sign of decline.
Among high school students in Hawaii, alcohol prevalence rates are higher than they are for marijuana, although marijuana is the most abused illicit drug among residents in this age group in the state. About 15% of 9th and 10th graders report using marijuana monthly, a rate which increases to 22.4% among 12th graders. Among young adults in Hawaii aged 18-25, around 20% report using illicit drugs, predominantly marijuana. Among teenagers in the state, inhalants have the highest prevalence of lifetime use at 13% of Hawaiian teenagers reporting such use, followed by cocaine (6.5%), and MDMA or ecstasy (6.1%). Around 5.6% of Hawaiians are dependent on illicit drugs, with the rate of increase in illicit drug deaths being extremely high in recent years. Methamphetamine is also a very significant problem in Hawaii, and in 2007 of the 54% of the Federally-sentenced defendants in Hawaii who had committed drug offenses 80% involved methamphetamine. It is also estimated that 7% of Aids cases in Hawaii between 1983 and 2006 were related to injection drug use and this is a primary route of administration for meth.
So it is apparent that Hawaii is faced with a very significant drug problem in all age groups, the consequences of which are also very apparent and disheartening. But while a substance abuse problem can be one of the most challenging problems to overcome, it is possible when quality treatment options are made available to residents. Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is a complex issue which can take quite a bit of time to address, if it is being addressed in the most proactive way which would treat not just the acute surface manifestations of addiction but the underlying causes as well. In many cases, individuals begin abusing drug or alcohol in order to mask or numb something in their lives that are causing emotional or psychological stress, and there are things which trigger substance abuse which must be resolved in treatment if the individual has any chance at staying off of drugs. This can all be addressed in a drug rehab program which provides a comprehensive treatment curriculum that starts with a safe detox and then follows this up with intensive treatment to resolve the issues that prompted their substance abuse.
Because this can be a challenging process even under the most ideal conditions and circumstances, inpatient and residential drug rehab programs in Hawaii are going to be the best possible setting to undergo treatment in the state because they provide a drug free and therapeutic environment where individuals can be surrounded by positive influences that will greatly assist in the process of recovery from addiction. In such a facility, treatment clients can take part in treatment services including behavioral therapy and other types of counseling to fully resolve anything which could cause a relapse in the future.
Population in Hawaii:1,275,194
State Prison Population in Hawaii:5,960
Probation Population in Hawaii:21,446
Violent Crime Rate in Hawaii:
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Hawaii:
Cocaine seizures in Hawaii:11.5 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Hawaii:0.3 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Hawaii:28.8 kgs.
Marijuana seizures in Hawaii:6.1 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Hawaii:0.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Hawaii:0.0 kgs./2,868 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Hawaii:0
(DEA, Hawaii, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Hawaii:
- The Hawaiian Islands are made up of eight major islands and a 1,500 mile chain of islets, covering 6,422.6 square miles in the North Central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii has a population of approximately 1.2 million people, with the largest ethnic variety in any of the states.
- All of the illegal drugs that are available on the mainland can also be found in the islands of Hawaii. Crystal methamphetamine (ice), marijuana, cocaine HCl, crack cocaine, heroin, and predatory drugs are all leading threats in the State of Hawaii.
- As part of the Los Angeles Field Division, the Honolulu District Office (HDO) in Hawaii is located 2,500 miles from the continental United States. The HDO has an Area of Responsibility (AOR) that encompasses the State of Hawaii, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and American Samoa.
- The majority of drugs are brought into the HDO area of responsibility by aircraft passengers or through the use of shipping companies and the U.S. postal service. Hawaii has several airports and airfields on six of the eight islands. The largest of the airports is the Honolulu International Airport on Oahu. Every year, more than seven million people visit the Hawaiian Islands. The majority of the incoming flights to Hawaii originate from the U.S. mainland, Canada, and Asia.
- Cocaine HCl is popular and readily available throughout Hawaii, and is often used along with other drugs including heroin and marijuana.
- The demand for cocaine in Hawaii is perpetuated by the tourist industry.
- There is an increase in cocaine trafficking, including crack cocaine, in Hawaii due to the current shortage of crystal methamphetamine available statewide. In addition, some methamphetamine dealers in Hawaii are reportedly reverting to cocaine distribution due to the perception of there being "less heat" than with meth.
- The media attention given to meth has convinced some dealers in Hawaii that there is less focus on cocaine, therefore making it easier to distribute the drug without detection.
- The DTOs trafficking cocaine in Hawaii are usually Mexican, Samoan, and African American. Many of the DTOs have ties to California, Nevada, and Mexico. The local and Pacific Islander organizations are supplied by Mexican DTOs. On a lesser scale, Asian DTOs are also trafficking in cocaine to Hawaii.
- Cocaine is smuggled to the Hawaiian islands via local airports, postal and mail delivery services, and interisland shipping lanes.
- Cocaine which is seized in Hawaii is usually concealed in vacuumed sealed food bags, Ziploc bags, and fibrous paper type bags heavily taped with either clear tape or other nonmetallic tapes. In Guam, gram and ounce quantities are packaged in small, plastic bags. Kilogram quantities are packaged in latex rubber and wrapped in packing tape.
- The majority of cocaine seized within the GRO's AOR is located in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This area is believed to be utilized as a trans-shipment point between Mexico/South American traffickers and receiving Asian organizations.
- Most of the heroin seized in Hawaii is black tar heroin.
- The Honolulu International Airport is the primary entry point for heroin transported into Hawaii.
- The majority of the seized heroin in Hawaii is body carried into the islands from Los Angeles by Mexican organizations and distributed throughout the state by a close-knit cell of distributors.
- Black tar heroin is smuggled into Hawaii from Mexico via body couriers on commercial aircraft and via mailed parcels. In Hawaii County, user amounts of black tar heroin are packaged in tin foil, balloons, and plastic wrap.
- Mexican organizations supply wholesale quantities of black tar heroin to local drug trafficking organizations and independent distributors in Hawaii.
- Heroin is available for users in Hawaii from street dealers, in illegal gambling establishments, and in the Downtown, Waikiki, and Chinatown areas of Honolulu. In Hawaii County, the drug is usually found in rural areas where veterans reside.
- Crystal methamphetamine (ice) is the drug of choice in Hawaii. The majority of powder methamphetamine is converted into ice before it is distributed in Hawaii. The drug is widely available statewide.
- A majority of the crystal methamphetamine abuse in Hawaii is attributed to the DTOs with strong domestic and international organized crime enterprises. Mexican organizations have become more involved in the production and distribution of crystal methamphetamine in Hawaii. It seems that the majority of the crystal methamphetamine available in Hawaii is produced in Mexico and California. Mexican DTOs smuggle the drug to Hawaii from California through the HIA via couriers on commercial flights, and mailed parcels (FEDEX and UPS).
- Crystal methamphetamine brought into Hawaii is distributed throughout the islands and eventually lands in local night clubs, street corners, hotel sites, public areas, raves, and private residences.
- The widespread use of crystal methamphetamine in Hawaii has had a devastating effect on the Hawaiian economy and family structure. Also, the drug's presence has increased street violence and property crimes.
- Major traffickers or organizations in Hawaii are Asian syndicates comprised of Korean, Filipino and Chinese individuals who smuggle methamphetamine onto the islands of Guam and Saipan via body carry or hidden in furniture.
- Guamanians residing in the mainland of Hawaii often acquire methamphetamine and mail it to family members in Guam who sell the drug for increased profit. Monetary proceeds are then mailed back to the mainland via FEDEX, UPS, USPS, or laundered through wire remitters or bank accounts.
- Meth lab incidents has been on a declince in Hawaii in recent years, with 0 incidents in 2007 and 4 incidents in 2006.
- MDMA is not manufactured in Hawaii, but is shipped from the mainland via the mail and/or smuggled on incoming flights through the HIA.
- Small quantities of MDMA are sold and used in bars, nightclubs, and rave parties in Hawaii.
- Abuse of predatory drugs, including MDMA, GHB, and LSD is increasing among Hawaii's youth and the large military population stationed in Hawaii.
- These predatory drugs are easily available and typically used by military personnel, teenagers, and young adults attracted to dance clubs, raves, and bars in Hawaii.
- In July of 2003, agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the HDO conducted a controlled purchase in Hawaii of approximately one gram of Alpha-Methyltryptamine (AMT) from an active duty sailor. In August 2003, another gram of AMT was purchased. A later search warrant was conducted and 10 grams of AMT were seized.
- In Hawaii, teenagers and young adults (20-30 years old) are increasingly using ecstasy, which is easily available at raves, nightclubs, and some hotels.
- Local military officials regard ecstasy use as the major drug use issue affecting active duty military in Hawaii.
- Predatory drugs are the biggest problem for the military population in Hawaii. Hawaii is home to more than 78,000 military personnel and their dependants located on five major military bases and facilities, with most located on Oahu.
- Military law enforcement personnel are seeing predatory drugs as the drug of choice in Hawaii. It is popular among the younger military personnel, in part because of the speed at which these drugs leave their systems.
- On the Big Island, raves and nightclubs are a source for MDMA; however the rave scene is not prolific in Hawaii.
- Similar to the methamphetamine trade, Asian syndicates are primarily responsible for the trafficking of YABA in Hawaii. Approximately 500 YABA tablets were seized in Guam (2003) during an inspection of a military aircraft. The YABA was destined for Hawaii from Thailand.
- Hawaii reports that MDMA is found in Hawaii in small quantities and is generally sold in bars, nightclubs, and at raves.
- Hawaii further reports that MDMA is also available in Guam and local traffickers receive the drug, in 100 to 300 pill increments, on a monthly basis from distributors in California.
- Hawaii reports that PCP is not easily available.
- Hawaii reports that LSD is available at raves on the island of Oahu. Other than that, LSD is rarely seen by law enforcement in Hawaii.
- GHB is available in limited quantities in Hawaii, mainly on Oahu and Maui.
- Ketamine is not readily available in Hawaii.
- Hawaii is a national leader in the production of high-grade marijuana. Homegrown marijuana in Hawaii is a staple for locals and for export to the mainland.
- Search warrants conducted on ice and cocaine trafficker residences have revealed small seizures of marijuana in Hawaii.
- Due to the widespread availability and use of marijuana, it remains the second most abused drug in Hawaii.
- The majority of the state's marijuana grow operations are on the Big Island in Hawaii County. Hawaii's tropical climate is ideal for year-round marijuana cultivation. Outdoor grows are typically located in tropical valleys next to year-round sources of water, such as rivers and streams. The vast majority of the grow sites in Hawaii are located on public lands, in rural areas, and on private property with open fields.
- On average, the typical yield per marijuana plant in Hawaii is one pound.
- Loosely affiliated groups in Hawaii, primarily Caucasian, commonly claim religious reasons for the cultivation and use of marijuana.
- Canadian marijuana, aka BC Bud, continues to be smuggled from Canada to the mainland and subsequently to Hawaii.
- Mexican and Canadian marijuana are routinely seized in Hawaii at the HIA from body carrying couriers and via mail parcels.
- Marijuana users in Guam acquire the drug from Hawaii and the Republic of Belau.
- Steroids (Dianobol) are not sold on the streets in Hawaii. The drug can be purchased via the internet.
- Current intelligence shows that there is a limited availability of LSD, MDMA, and PCP in Honolulu, Hawaii. Small amounts have been seized along with prescription drugs.
- Ecstasy, ketamine, marijuana, and pharmaceuticals are being sold at raves (held in clubs) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- In Hawaii County, raves are held in farm lots, ranches, and isolated beaches. Ecstasy, mushrooms, and AMT are being sold at these raves. In Maui County, raves are held outdoors in very rural areas where Ecstasy, marijuana, GHB, and LSD are available.
- Hydrocodone is one of the most abused pharmaceutical drugs in Hawaii. The drug is easily available in the counties of Honolulu and Hawaii.
- Doctor shopping is the most common form of diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances in Hawaii. Other forms include employee theft from drug inventories, forgeries and prescription falsification, and indiscriminate prescribing of drugs by doctors for illegitimate reasons.
- In 1995 a program was created known as the DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams, or "MET". This was in response to the overwhelming problem of drugs and drug-related crimes across the nation. There have been four MET deployments in the State of Hawaii since the inception of the program: Hilo/Hawaii County, Waipahu, Maui, and Kona.
- There were 92 drug violation arrests made in Hawaii in 2007.