Episode 4: “Who’s Got a Better Idea?”

Jun 14, 2016

Credit Noah Matteucci

More than 20 years ago, Hawai‘i was an early adopter of drug court—allowing nonviolent substance abusers to avoid prison with a program of supervised treatment, work and regular drug testing. Today, 85% of those cases involve crystal methamphetamine—and it’s overwhelming the system. There’s a waiting list for drug court, and a waiting list to get into treatment centers helping users of crystal meth. Hospital emergency rooms taking care of crystal methamphetamine users often face financial charges running to the tens of thousands of dollars, largely absorbed by taxpayers. Treatment professionals say a bigger role for primary care physicians could help deal with earlier stages of the use of this drug—and also help a movement toward a more honest and realistic dealing with Hawai‘i’s crisis of crystal methamphetamine use.