Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2012
Source: Garden Island (Lihue, HI)
Copyright: 2012 The Garden Island
Author: Dennis Fujimoto


LIHU'E - Leaders from the community gathered Thursday for the purpose 
of revising the county's five-year master drug plan during the 2012 
Drug Summit at the Kaua'i Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

"We have about 150 people here, including teams from the Department 
of Education, community organizations, the County of Kaua'i and the 
Judiciary to work on the plan," said Bridget Arume of the Department 
of Education.

Gary Heu, representing Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., who was out of 
town, said the theme of E Ho'omau ka 'Ike, or "Continue the 
Awareness, Learning, Vision," was most appropriate since the start of 
the program in 2003.

"This is a journey from when the drug awareness program started in 
2003," Heu said. "The world has changed considerably since then, and 
life has changed in 10 years."

He said there is constant adjustments and constant awareness, but 
sometimes progress is slow.

"Using the four-pronged approach of prevention, enforcement, 
treatment and community integration, we have 150 people here, each as 
an individual and collectively, to make an impact on building strong 
families," Heu said.

He also expressed Sen. Daniel Inouye's sentiments on the summit, 
noting drug abuse affects all facets of the community, and after nine 
years, the people of Kaua'i no longer tolerates substance abuse.

Under the four-pronged approach, the prevention committee serves as a 
central body to reduce and prevent drug abuse on the island through 
awareness, education and action.

Lori Ferreira, Stategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant 
Project Manager of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division for the State 
of Hawai'i, led the discussion group on the problem of abuse of 
illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco throughout the state.

Kaua'i has the youngest mean age of first use of alcohol at 11.9, 
citing a 2008 Hawai'i Epidemiological Profile for Substance Abuse 
Prevention graphic in the SPF-SIG Project Overview. Expanding on that 
11.9 years old as first use of alcohol compared with 12.0 for the Big 
Island, 12.3 for Honolulu and 12.1 for Maui and an average 12.2 years 
for the state, Kaua'i's sixth grade students had the highest 
incidence of "past 30-day use of alcohol" at 6.6 percent, compared 
with 6.2 percent for the Big Island, 3.1 percent for Honolulu, 4.3 
percent for Maui and 3.9 percent for the state.

The numbers reverse for 12th grade students of "past 30-day use of 
alcohol," where Kaua'i is the lowest at 26.2 percent while the Big 
Island soars to 49.8 percent, Honolulu at 33 percent and Maui at 42.5 
percent and the state average at 36.3 percent.

The State of Hawai'i Department of Health Alcohol and Substance Abuse 
Division leads the state's efforts in building a comprehensive 
prevention infrastructure, which supports communities like Kaua'i to 
take action to promote emotional health and reduce the likelihood of 
substance abuse and mental illness.

"We wanted to make sure the community had representatives at this 
summit," Arume said. "We have representation from the South Shore and 
the North Shore, so no one is left out."

U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni and Intelligence Officer Wesley Wong 
led the enforcement discussions, which spans a range of complex 
issues and existing policies and laws regulating the use of drugs and alcohol.

The discussion also shares information regarding issues with the 
latest drug trends and incidences involving drugs, such as spice and 
bath salts, while sharing education regarding medical marijuana laws, 
the use of firearms and organized crime.

Dr. Deborah Kissinger set the pace for the treatment and community 
integration teams, who focus on coordinating affordable and effective 
drug treatment and aftercare services on Kaua'i.

Kissinger updated the teams on the National Treatment Trends and 
where the island is in relation to the nation, adding information on 
the length of stay needs for patients versus approved medical 
insurance coverage.

Rebecca Smith, former SPF-SIG project manager for Kaua'i and now with 
the DOE, said the findings of the 2012 Drug Summit will be used to 
help revise the county's five-year drug plan.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom