Drug abuse in Hawaii

Hawaii has a population of 1,441,553 people. The most recent data from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 158,000 people over the age of 12 had abused illegal substances in the past month, around 10.96% of the population. 144,000 reported marijuana use in the past month and 217,000 in the past year. The report also found that 27,000 Hawaii residents had abused cocaine in the past year, 17,000 had abused meth, and 50,000 had abused prescription pain medication. 11,000 people over the age of 18 reported using heroin in the last year. Those reporting opioid misuse including heroin, painkillers, and fentanyl in Hawaii totaled 49,000 people.

Alcohol abuse in Hawaii

Alcohol misuse was also reported in Hawaii with 564,000 people over the age of 12 saying they had used alcohol in the last month and 296,000 reporting binge drinking. The perceived risk of people over 12 years of age indulging in problematic alcohol use (5 or more drinks twice a week) in a month was 603,000 people.

Overdose deaths in Hawaii

In 2021, Hawaii saw a total of 249 recorded drug-related overdose deaths. This includes those that were accidental or unidentifiable but excludes those that were related to suicide or homicide. The total number of alcohol-related deaths (including overdose and all other causes) was 134 or 9.3 per 100,000 people.

Substance abuse treatment in Hawaii

The NSDUH report also recorded the total amount of substance abuse disorders in Hawaii and those who currently require treatment. The report found that 197,000 were recorded as having a substance use disorder (SUD) and 133,000 had an alcohol use disorder. 20,000 people were recorded as having an opioid use disorder including those with painkiller, heroin, and other opioid-based drug use disorders. There are also many who have been diagnosed with or reported a substance, illicit drug, or alcohol use disorder that require rehab treatment and are not receiving it. The report found that 86 people in Hawaii needed treatment for illicit substance abuse, 140,000 required treatment for an alcohol use disorder, and 189,000 needed treatment for a diagnosed substance use disorder.

What treatment options are available in Hawaii?

Hawaii actively addresses its substance abuse problems and has an abundance of resources:

  • Residential treatment – Residential treatment requires clients to live within the facility, keeping individuals away from triggers and temptations outside its walls. The treatment typically starts with detoxification, which is potentially life-threatening, and so best be done with professionals around.

  • Inpatient treatment – This type of treatment is the most rigorous, intending to stabilize people from detox before further interventions. Individuals in inpatient rehabs are very closely monitored, more than those in residential rehabs. Typically, people exiting inpatient rehabilitation proceed to residential treatment.

  • Outpatient treatmentOutpatient rehab is ideal for substance abusers with mild conditions. It allows more freedom to proceed with normal living, especially concerning work and personal responsibilities. Clients have more flexibility, but also bear more accountability in their recovery journey.

  • School-based outpatient treatment – This kind of service is available across Hawaii, allowing students and guardians convenient access to substance abuse treatments.

  • Age-specific treatment – Adolescents and adults usually have vastly different reasons behind the addiction, making this type of treatment relevant. This helps in modifying intervention plans to suit the client’s needs.

How do I pay for rehab in Hawaii?

Money is one of the biggest reasons why people balk at the thought of rehab. Luckily, the Hawaiian local government actively partners with various facilities and organizations that offer addiction treatment services.

The most publicly accessible service is the free outpatient treatment that is available in several schools statewide. Most facilities also accept state insurance and Medicaid, as well as private insurance. The abundance of military bases in Hawaii has the islands teeming with military personnel; military insurance is widely accepted in several treatment facilities.

Sliding fee scales are common to see in the health industry, which adjusts treatment fees based on the client’s ability to pay. This ensures that the cost of rehabilitation remains within the individual’s capacities.

What is an intervention?

An intervention is an organized event that attempts to confront an individual with the problems caused by their substance abuse. The goal of an intervention is to convince the substance abuser to seek help. It is recommended to ask for assistance from professionals before conducting an intervention (e.g. counselors or interventionists).

It should be planned by the intervening group, to identify the best approach for the desired outcome. Interventions tend to be emotionally-charged events, and do not guarantee positive results.

What happens after rehab in Hawaii?

The recovery process does not stop upon exiting a treatment facility. Sobriety is a lifelong pledge that must be consistently encouraged.

“Aftercare” following rehabilitation is necessary and can be done in different ways. Support groups are a staple in aftercare, as it provides a circle of peers that provide a relatable community. Regular therapy is ideal too. Some individuals may require maintenance medicine to negate the impact of addiction.

Upkeeping these aftercare activities is vital in maintaining a sober status.

Government addiction treatment assistance offered in Hawaii

The Hawaiian government is very keen on its actions in battling addiction in the community. The Department of Health in Hawaii has an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) with an Opioid Initiative in place that aims to aggressively combat the abuse and misuse of the substance. 

The ADAD is the public’s main source of funding for addiction treatment in Hawaii. The division’s efforts resulted in the partnerships developed with various treatment facilities, involving schools and private rehabs in offering accessible assistance for substance addiction. Intervention programs made with the ADAD are meant to be culturally appropriate, intending to meet the needs of those involved. These services prioritize injection users and pregnant women.

The division has an official website containing vital information regarding substance abuse in the state. Included there are comprehensive lists of addiction treatment resources in Hawaii.

Furthermore, the Hawaiian government collaborated with community-based organizations to extend treatment services. One such collaboration is with Hawai’i CARES (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System), a crisis intervention resource center. The service is free and available 24/7, offering support for various crises, including substance use.