Is Hawaii Winning The War On Ice?

Edgy Lee
Edgy Lee
Keith Kamita
Keith Kamita

By Joann Shin

(KHNL) - Filmmaker Edgy Lee helped bring Hawaii's ice epidemic into the spotlight with a series of documentaries.

But a couple years later, she says ice is still a major problem.

"I think if we think it's disappeared because of a lull in sales or a drop in the number of meth labs, we'd be fooling ourselves," said Lee.

But she says these films helped open up a discussion about this serious epidemic.

According to Lee, "I can not tell you how many parents from all walks of life have come up to me and said I'm glad this is out, because I couldn't address it."

Keith Kamita heads up the state's Narcotics Enforcement Division.

He's been involved in this fight for two decades.

Kamita said, "I think it's still a big problem. We've taken a slight downward turn."

Stricter laws that involve the purchase of medicine with pseudo-ephedrine have decreased the manufacturing of ice.

"What we saw is that laboratories from last year were 17, as of today, only 4," said Kamita.

He also says there's been a drop in the availability of ice because agencies on the federal, state, and local levels are working together.

"Pull our resources and we've taken out some big individuals dealing drugs in Hawaii," said Kamita.

But both Lee and Kamita say the work is far from over.

Lee explained, "It doesn't go away in five years 10 years, it takes a generation. We oughta be working on prevention and education no matter what."

Kamita added, "We can't give up, we need to keep on fighting this good fight."

Now there is a loophole.

People could go from store to store and still buy the medicine without the sales being tracked.

State officials say that's a problem that states nationwide are dealing with.

However, they say limiting sales of the medicine is helping to bring the number of meth labs down.