Pubdate: Fri, 19 Sep 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2003 West Hawaii Today
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Author: Tiffany Edwards, West Hawaii Today
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)
Note: To read about the "ice epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


HILO - Federal officials personally delivered nearly $900,000 earmarked for a
drug treatment facility for island adolescents.

Charles Curie, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) chief, presented Mayor Harry
Kim an oversized cardboard check for $893,986 Thursday in front of more than 20
invited guests packed into the mayor's office. The money is to be provided to
the county in three installments in the next three years. 

Curie came from Washington D.C. this week to be the keynote speaker for the
state's Drug Control Strategy Summit in Honolulu. 

On Tuesday, he presented Gov. Linda Lingle with a $3.6 million check signed by
Tommy Thompson, chief of the federal Health and Human Services Department. 

Thursday morning, Curie, two other SAMHSA employees and Lt. Gov. James "Duke"
Aiona presented Hawaii County a separate check. 

Aiona said he knows the money is "going to be put to good use" and will go
toward "a good model." He noted other island communities besides those on the
Big Island are "hurting," and the SAMHSA funds are "a good first step."

Curie commended Lingle's administration for making substance abuse "the
centerpiece of its agenda" and noted the significance of a lieutenant governor
being the state's "drug czar." 

Curie said he was encouraged by the commitment from the governor down to the
"city council" and the fact that this county has its own drug czar, namely
Billy Kenoi, Kim's executive assistant who was chosen to lead the war on ice
when Kim declared at the outset of his term. 

"Typically elected officials don't grab a hold of those issues," said Curie,
referring to drug - related issues.

"Hawaii is on the cusp of some tremendous and great things happening," Curie
told the numerous public officials, substance abuse providers and media
gathered in the mayor's office Thursday. 

Curie said the money handed down to the county fulfilled Thompson's earlier
"commitment" and added "another reason why the money is legitimate" is because
this county with a population of nearly 150,000 has "the highest rate of
adolescent drug abuse."

He described that as "a huge tragedy," especially as youth seeking treatment
must travel to the Oahu Community Corrections Facility. He said the county's
vision is "a shared vision."

Curie later said SAMHSA is collaborating with the county to develop a "model
program" he hopes can be implemented across the U.S. 

He said the model program is still being developed, adding SAMHSA wants to work
with Hawaii in a "direct, specific way" to develop it and ensure cultural
aspects are considered.

Curie acknowledged more than $900,000 is needed to build a residential drug
treatment facility, but that money can be used to "prime the pump" and be
leveraged with private dollars. 

In addition to the SAMHSA funds, the county is also expected to receive
$900,000 from South Kohala philanthropist Earl Bakken, $400,000 from the state,
and $10,000 from the Hawaii Community Foundation for either the drug treatment
facility or drug prevention initiatives. 

Kenoi said he hopes to have "a mauka - to - makai program" offered at a four -
month in - patient drug treatment facility for youth ages 13 and older. 

The facility would have eight to 16 beds, costing between $275 to $325 per day
per bed. 

The program offered at the facility would be a "marriage" of Hawaiian customs
and the best practices on the mainland for drug treatment. 

Kenoi said the vision is to have adolescents schooled at the same time they
receive drug treatment and "participate in activities related to the ocean and
the mountain," such as canoe paddling and agriculture - type work.

Kenoi acknowledged the facility is still being designed and a site has yet to
be selected, but said he would like to have it up and running by January. 

"The goal is to make it some place beautiful, some place the kids can be proud
to be there," said Kenoi, who added the ideal location would be near Kawaihae
where canoes can be launched. 

"If anybody's sitting out there with five acres in North Hawaii and would like
to site a facility," he said, "give me a call (at 961 - 8223)."
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MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk