Ice in the Islands: What’s being done to stop it


It’s not in the headlines like it used to be but crystal meth or “ice” never went away.
It’s a common denominator among thieves who steal to feed their habit.
Meth continues to wreak havoc in our communities.
It’s cheap. It’s highly addictive and it’s directly linked to other illegal activities.
Gary Yabuta is the executive director of the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, or HIDTA. 
He works with federal, state and local agencies to stop drug trafficking. He said chrystal meth came to Hawaii from Asia and has been problem for more than three decades and is even more prevalent now.
“Methamphetamine is still a huge problem,” Yabuta said. “It never went away and its here and its just as destructive, even more so now because of its purity.”
Yabuta says most of the meth here in Hawaii is being smuggled in from Mexico so it’s cheaper and more potent than it used to be. 
Ice is also considered one of the most addictive drugs out there.
“The difference between meth and a lot of these other drugs,” Yabuta explained, “I mean, I talk to these addicts. When did you get hooked on ice? Batu? That very first hit, that’s their answer.”
And once they’re hooked all they care about is their next hit and they’ll do just about anything to get it.
“They steal from their own parents, sisters and brothers and family,” Yabuta said. “It’s everywhere and its prevalent in physical domestic violence, its prevalent theft cases, assault cases, crimes of violence. and its pretty much the common denominator for violent crimes across the state….They don’t care about jail. They don’t care about eating. All they want is their meth.”
So what is being done to stop it?
“In our job, in our aspect is through enforcement, is to make sure that we go after the drug dealers and punish the drug dealers,” Yabuta said. “In our way, we can kind of put a limit to drug trafficking in Hawaii, but that’s not the answer. It’s a multidimensional approach. We can’t arrest our way our of this problem, nor can we just lock people up.”
He said the best way is stopping the problem before it begins.
“All of us have to work together with the communities,” Yabuta explained, “Because education, treatment and prevention is really the answer.”
Numerous organizations are working together to combat the problem.
“We have a lot of good organizations, Hina Mauka’s and excellent organization,” Yabuta said, “But quite frankly, we don’t have enough treatment. 
“What has happened with methamphetamine is they no longer have the voice in the publics eye like they did before,” Yabuta said. “Federal funding specifically for methamphetamine doesn’t exist anymore.” 
Yabuta said he hopes legislatures will take notice and do what they can to directly address the ice issue here in Hawaii.
Here is a list of organizations who assist with drug related problems:

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