DRUGS & CRIME
It is clear that America lost its “War on Drugs.” This is especially true in Hawaiʻi. Illegal drug use and crime associated with its use and distribution are at epidemic proportions. This is especially true for Native Hawaiians, who have the highest rate of substance abuse, among other ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi. In addition, Native Hawaiians have the highest incarceration rate among all ethnic groups. Note: Native Hawaiians represent 21 percent of the population, but 39 percent of those incarcerated.
Government must be innovative and use culture and spirituality as part of the process when working with the incarcerated and at-risk Native Hawaiian population. Government must look at and implement initiatives and strategies that have proven successful in other areas, especially for native peoples. Government must do what it can for the Hawaiian community and those who are impacted here. A comprehensive culture based program is needed that begins in the home with the parents and their youth. We must break the cycle of drug use, abuse, and crime in the Native Hawaiian community and all of Hawaiʻi.