Growing up on Kaua’i I have watched first hand loved ones and friends fall into the darkness and emptiness of drug abuse and addiction. We have lost friends to overdoses, mental health issues, suicides, tragedies and lives of addiction and isolation. For many of us there is nothing more painful then this reality and our inability to help those that we love. It is a heavy burden that our community carries and something we cannot brush aside, jail away, or ignore. We must face it.
I strongly support existing efforts to establish an adolescent treatment center and we need to work together to get it up and going as quickly as possible. We also need to work to ensure that it is effective and meets our needs.
I will work for all around inpatient programs that help any age group and provide the kind of in-depth services our community needs.
I think we should provide drug rehab classes and programs in our jails so that when people transition back into society they can do it with a handful of basic skills and understandings.
We need to work on enforcement at our ports and stop these drugs from making it onto our streets. We need to look at ways we can better control prescription medications and prevent abuse and illegal sales.
We must be committed to addressing the drug abuse issues holistically and along side other interconnected core social issues we face. We need to provide affordable housing and reduce the cost of living that drives people to depression, illegal activities and drug abuse.
We need to stop treating drug abuse as a criminal issue and instead treat it as a medical and mental health issue, with compassion and with a plan.