Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ice storm: Epidemic of the Islands

Violence in the home
tops problems of drugs

Domestic violence and the breakdown of families is the worst problem created by drug abuse in Hawaii, according to a survey of participants in more than a dozen community meetings around the islands.

In the months leading up to this week's drug summit in Waikiki, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona hosted 13 "talk story" sessions on four islands to gather community thoughts on drug abuse and solutions.


Yesterday the Lingle administration presented the results of a survey it gave to participants of the sessions it held on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. About 715 people returned completed surveys.


The survey found that when asked to rate the problems created by drug abuse, the No. 1 problem was domestic violence and the breakdown of families. Eight of 13 communities rated this as the worst problem resulting from drug and alcohol abuse.

The communities rated drug houses and drug dealing as the second-worst problem, followed by property crimes or thefts committed by addicts looking for cash and increased juvenile delinquency. These were followed by reckless driving or speeding and alcohol sales to minors.

Aiona stressed yesterday that solutions to the drug problem need to be based on community input. Gov. Linda Lingle also told the summit the package of laws her administration will present to the Legislature will be the product of the community and not of either political party.

When asked the best method to reduce drug abuse, the communities rated more organized youth activities as the best defense. This was followed by organized community action groups, increased police presence and more treatment services.

Results varied from community to community.

For example, Hilo and Maui, which rated domestic violence and family breakdown as their biggest drug-related problem, said they need more drug treatment services.

But Kahuku, Kailua-Kona, Kalihi and Kauai, which also cited domestic violence as the worst problem, saw more organized youth activities and community action groups as the answer.

Pearl City and Waipahu asked for increased police presence.

Kailua and Kapolei, which each cited drug houses and drug dealing as the worst problem, asked first for more organized youth activities. Mililani wanted increased police presence. Nanakuli wants to respond with organized community action groups.


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