Pubdate: Thu,  7 Aug 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards, West Hawaii Today
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


WAIMEA - More than 100 social programs in the North Hawaii community could
be offering ice education and prevention, they just don't have the funding.

The North Hawaii Drug - Free Coalition wants lawmakers to consider that as
they look to draft legislation to address the crystal methamphetamine
epidemic plaguing not just on the Big Island but the entire state. The ice
epidemic is expected to be the foremost issue in the next legislative
session, and hundreds of bills relating to it are expected to be drafted.

The coalition stressed Big Island communities are unique, with private - and
government - funded social programs tailored to those communities that
receive little or no funding. 

In a three - hour workshop at the North Hawaii Community Hospital Wednesday,
the coalition prepared for an Aug. 25 - 26 summit in Waikoloa, and Sept. 3 -
4 meetings with the legislators on a joint task force to address ice.

The coalition's planning workshop came the day after Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona
pitched the administration's "Hawaii Drug Control Strategy: A New Beginning"
to about 200 people in Hilo. 

Some members of the North Hawaii Drug - Free Coalition attended the
lieutenant governor's presentation, including Maxine Kahaulelio, of Waimea's
"Power of Choice" on the coalition, who testified. 

Kahaulelio suggested the governor's administration might attempt to "take
away" $4 million Sen. Daniel Inouye, D - Hawaii, had promised to the Big
Island. She and others in attendance Tuesday night expressed concern "the
war on ice" is getting political, and any money handed down from the federal
government to combat the drug won't go beyond Oahu.

Coalition members reiterated the concern during Wednesday's workshop, and
pointed out some weaknesses in Lingle administration's drug control

Kahaulelio specifically took issue with the administration's pitch to
promote ice prevention by distributing brochures and videos to schools that
have high - risk students and also design charter school models to address
that group of youth. 

"If we're going to work together, to educate our children, we need to start
at home," Kahaulelio said. 

She noted the existing bureaucracy in the Department of Education in
identifying and helping one child with a problem, let alone all the youth at
risk of using, or already using, ice. 

Kahaulelio said she knows of two pregnant women in Kohala who are using.

"How are we going to get to them, their babies. They are going to have ice
babies. You want to go into the school. Let's start with the hale," she

She suggested those who interact with ice users be involved in the planning
of any state or county initiative that is going to address the issue. 

"Invite people like the probation officer," Kahaulelio said. She was
referring to Melissa Moniz. who said Tuesday night she needed help to assist
the 10 - year - old and 12 - year - old clients who are prostituting in Hilo
to pay for their ice habits.

In the course of their discussion, coalition members ultimately came up with
this statement: "We don't like the fractured approach being taken by the
Hawaii government. We need programs in our communities."

Coalition members pledged to develop a list of programs that receive little
or no funding but could otherwise be used to address the ice problem. They
plan to present that list at the summit and at their meeting with

The coalition, which formed about one year ago, is a collective of various
"Community Response to Ice" groups in North Hawaii and is funded by a
$30,000 grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation and an undisclosed amount
of money from the Earl Bakken Foundation. 

While there are four volunteer Community Response to Ice groups in North
Hawaii, others across the island have existed for at least six years.
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