According to the Prescription Drug Abuse report by Trust for America’s Health
, Hawaii has the 34th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S., with 11 per 100,000 individuals falling victim to drug overdose fatalities. The number of drug overdose deaths increased 68% from 1999 to 2013. This report also found that Hawaii had 6 out of 10 indicators regarding drug abuse.
Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 20% of high school students in Hawaii admitted they drank alcohol for the first time before age 13 years. Additionally, 29% of high school students had at least one drink during the 30 days before the survey. The percent of Hawaii high school students admitted they had 5 or more drinks (binge drinking) at least once during the past 30 days was 25%. Another 40% of Hawaii high school students admitted to using marijuana at least once.
The capital and largest city in Hawaii is Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu. Honolulu, HI is the main gateway to other islands and a major portal into the U.S. As the most remote city of its side worldwide, Honolulu is a hub for international business, tourism and military defense. As the major financial center for the islands, around 337,200 people reside in Honolulu, with an additional 630,000 living in the surrounding county and areas. The name “Honolulu” means “calm port” or “sheltered harbor” in Hawaiian. Ranked as the 2nd safest city in the states, Honolulu is the most populated Oceanian city outside Australia. Hawaii News Now reports that narcotics enforcement agents with the Honolulu police officials say that crystal methamphetamine is the biggest drug problem on the island of Oahu but cocaine, heroin, molly and marijuana (weed, pot, hash) are also popular.
Located in the “Ewa” District on the island of Oahu, Pearl City has a total population of 47,700. Pearl City is located along Pearl Harbor’s north shore, and it borders Aiea to the west. In the early 1880s, Pearl City was known for an array of rice fields and paddies, which were plowed with water buffalo that hauled a two-wheel cart. Near the outskirts of the city, the Remond Grove area was where people would be entertained by saxophone, trumpet, piano, and banjo performances in the early 1900s. Pearl City, HI has a diverse population, made up of 60% Asian-Pacific Islander, 17% White, 2% African-American, and 21% “other races” or “two or more races.” More men than women live here with a male-to-female ratio of 117:100. In Hawaii, 19% of high school students surveyed reported that they drank alcohol for the first time before age 13 years in a 2011 survey by the Department of Health and Human Services Another 29% of teens said they had drank during the past 30 days. In addition, 10% of students said they abused inhalants in the last 30 days.
The largest settlement in Hawaii County is Hilo, which encompasses the Island of Hawaii. The population in Hilo Hawaii is 43,300, with the county seat located in the District of South Hilo. The town overlooks the Hilo Bay, which is situated upon two shield volcanos: Mauna Loa (active) and Mauna Kea (dormant). Home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Merrie Monarch Festival, and Imiloa Astronomy Center, the city is the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts. Interestingly, one of the main employers here is the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation. According to a report by Hawaii.gov, more than 17 million dollars was spent on treatment services in 2014 in Hawaii, which was up 7% from 2010. Of these funds, 45% were used on Native Hawaiians. In 2014 alone, almost 4,000 clients were treated for drug and/or alcohol problems. Of these clients, 15% were from Hawaii County.
Kailua, HI is on the island of Oahu, located in the Koolaupoko District. Around 38,600 people call Kailua home and the town is 12 miles northeast of Honolulu over Nuuanu Pali. Kailua means “two currents” or “two seas” in the Hawaiian language. It is also named this because of the two lagoons in the district. The city has a population of around 37,000 and it is known for Lanikai Beach, Maunawili Falls and the Marine Corps Base. Amazingly, many ancient temple ruins are in this area, such as Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site. In Kailua, stand-up paddleboarding and sea kayaking have become popular to protect the seabird sanctuaries NaMokulua (called “the Mokes”) and Flat Island. The average family income here is $79,000, with only 3.3% of families subsiding below poverty level. According to a report by Trust for America’s Health, Hawaii has the 34th highest drug overdose death rate in the United States. The rate of overdose fatalities in Hawaii is 11 per 100,000 people. The majority of the drug overdose deaths in the islands are from prescription drugs and the rate has increased by almost 70% since 1999.
A former sugarcane plantation town, Waipahu has 38,200 residents and is in the Ewa District on the island of Oahu. Named after an artesian spring, Waipahu is derived from the Hawaiian word “wai”, which means water, and pahu, meaning “burst.” Before civilization from the West, native Hawaiians considered this location as the capital of Oahu. In 1897, Oahu Sugar Company was incorporated in Waipahu and plantation workers lived by the “Plantation System.” With this system, field workers were paid $12.50 each month, Chinese workers $15.00 a month, and Filipinos $10.00 a month. In 1995, the company shut down plantation operations. The Drug Market Analysis report by the U.S. Department of Justice found that the trafficking and abuse of ice methamphetamine is a serious liability and problem in Hawaii. The Drug Intelligence Center found that the number of drug-related crimes and critical events attributing to meth exceeded the number for any other drug in Hawaii.
Kaneohe is home to 35,000 people and it is included in the City and County of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. In Hawaiian language, Kaneohe means “bamboo man,” and an ancient tale says a woman here compared her husband’s cruelty to the sharp edge of a bamboo cutting tool. The commercial center of the city is spread along the Kamehameha Highway. Kaneohe has an abundance of rainfall and used to be a major agricultural area. Today, it is mostly a residential area with some banana crops. Main features here include the Hawaii National Veterans Cemetery and the Homaluhia Botanical Garden. In Kaneohe, HI, there are 100 females to every 93 males, and the average family size is 3.5. Based on a report from the U.S. Department of Justice, cannabis cultivators often exploit Hawaii’s medical marijuana laws to illegally grow and distribute marijuana. There was a 260% increase of medical marijuana registrants from 2006 to 2010 and this mainly occurs on Oahu.
A city located near the center of Oahu is Mililani Town, which is part of Honolulu County. This town has 28,000 residents and it sits on the plantation fields owned previously by Castle & Cooke. This company began developing Mililani Town in the 1960s and wished to make it a satellite city by using a prestigious group of architects and planners to satisfy the growing demand for housing. Interstate H-2 opened in 1976, which cut travel time from Mililani to Honolulu in half. While mostly a residential area, Mililani has schools, shopping centers, community centers, parks, and a golf course. Among the drugs seized in the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, there were 1,316 kilos of marijuana, 25 kilos of cocaine, and 125 kilos of ice methamphetamine.
A housing development located in Ewa District and County of Honolulu is Ewa Gentry. This town has 23,000 people and is only 12 miles from Honolulu. In the Hawaiian language, Ewa means “crooked.” Originally known for sugar cane production, is now a suburban growth area, spreading south to Ewa Beach and west to Kalealoa. Around 44% of households in Ewa have children age 18 or younger living in them and the average family size is 3.4. There are 105 males to every 100 females in the city and the average family income is $71,000. Only 2.6% of the town’s population live below the poverty. According to KITV news, Hawaii lawmakers are attempting to limit the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions to only one per week. This is in response to the ongoing opioid abuse problem and increased number of narcotic-related overdose deaths in Hawaii. Paramedics in Honolulu and Ewa Beach (as some call it) have seen a 13% increase in the use of Narcan, an opioid blocker administered to overdose victims.
In Maui County, Kihei Hawaii has a population of 21,000. The town sits on a total area of 11.7 square miles, which is 2.4 square miles of water. The climate is arid and only receives 10 inches of rainfall per year. Kiei, Hawaii has a diverse population with 48% white, 7% African-American, 25% Asian, 8% Pacific Islander, and 17% “other” or “two or more” races. In the city, there are several research facilities such as DEKALB Genetics, Monsanto Company and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. In addition, Kihei is home to the Pacific Disaster Center. The main employers here are the Hawaii Department of Education, Safeway, Monsanto, Keller Williams Realty and the Kihei Canoe Club. According to a report by the Hawaii State Department of Health, poisoning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Hawaii, with drugs causing 9 of 10 poisonings. Opioid pain relievers have contributed to 36% of drug-related deaths from 2000 through 2013. The rate of overdose fatalities in Hawaii is 11 per 100,000 persons, with 756 overdose fatalities occurring in a four-year time span.