Local Connection: Drug Epidemic

Local Connection: Drug Epidemic

Here's a thought that will give you some pause: It has been 14 years since local television stations pre-empted prime time for a documentary on Hawaii's crystal meth epidemic.

The documentary was part of a huge community effort to take on a problem that was a scourge on our state.

Well, more than a decade later, we are still dealing with ice in a very big way.  If there was progress back then, it has not been sustained.

Last week, we reported that Hawaii's needle exchange program took in more than a million syringes last year.  Two-thirds of those addicts are homeless, and 70 percent say they are mentally ill.

Its clear that the ice epidemic, mental illness and chronic homelessness are tangled together and now must be tackled together.

We can only hope that this year's rhetoric by our elected officials and action plans on homelessness recognize and address all three of these huge challenges.

Doing so will undoubtedly require public resources that so far have not been enough to meet this crisis.

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