By: Kristine Uyeno
(KHNL) - The drug crystal methamphetamine or "ice" has had a strong grip on Hawaii for years.
Progress is being made, but there's still work to be done to reduce meth use.
State leaders gathered at Ala Moana Shopping Center to recognize National Methamphetamine Awareness Day.
Centerstage featured pictures of meth users, a normal brain and a brain on drugs, and much more.
"We may not see any laboratories anymore, but we are seeing still a lot of use. Hawaii is still a big per capita meth user state," said Keith Kamita, with the State Narcotics Enforcement Division.
He says the price for meth is increasing and quality is dropping.
"Unfortunately you have a lot of individuals that previously used gateway drugs, and unfortunately you have a lot of peer pressure. You have those that feel it's not going to affect them like it has others," said Tony Williams, with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
That's why state leaders are gathering for events like this, to prevent people from trying this drug. They say it's more addictive than cocaine and the effects are harsh.
"We've talked to the younger students, we see that age group make progress, less use, but our older people we're still working on," said Kamita.