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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, May 9, 2003

'Ice' forum garners 10 proposals

 • Ice dealers feel the heat

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

Kahalu'u — O'ahu residents proposed 10 solutions last night to battle the proliferation of drug use in their communities, including youth programs, legislation, cultural-based treatment, faith-based help and establishing a treatment program on donated land.

About 200 people came to the third in a series of town hall meetings at KEY Project to develop suggestions for dealing with the abuse of crystal methamphetamine, or "ice."

While a majority of the people were from Kahalu'u, residents from Nu'uanu, Wai'anae, Mililani, Hale'iwa, Kane'ohe, Hau'ula, Ka'a'awa, La'ie, Waimanalo and elsewhere attended.

They wanted to see how Kahalu'u was dealing with drug use and were hoping to adopt a model in their communities, said James Lutte, residential program director at Ho'omau Ke Ola, a drug treatment program on the Wai'anae Coast.

Wai'anae residents, agencies, churches and treatment centers will hold a organizational meeting Monday to plan a communitywide forum on ice use, Lutte said.

"What we saw in the news, what we read in the paper, the response of the (Kahalu'u) community was very encouraging," he said.

"We really didn't expect this kind of turnout."

Recent town meetings held by Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, D-45th (Wai'anae, Makaha), and Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), attracted many residents but the topics varied and Lutte and other Wai'anae residents want to have a meeting on ice use only, he said.

The Kahalu'u meeting offered ideas as well as a model.

Rick Towill suggested a place where youths can learn a trade and then be taught how to market their skills. Dennis Shaw wanted to be part of a group that identifies drug houses and secure the neighborhood against them.

Amy Arakaki, principal of Kahalu'u Elementary School, said parents want a phone number they can call when there's trouble. She said they don't want to call 911 because they fear retribution when drug addicts see police go to a home then turn up on the suspected drug user's doorstep.

"Also, we need to start from the bottom up, building strong, resilient children — and that will take the whole community," she said.

She recommended providing safe havens for latchkey children.

Other suggestions included custodial care for people with mental health problems related to drug use, forming youth groups that could be involved in prevention, and having community-provided programs for prisoners.

Dr. Craig Twentyman, a clinical psychologist, said he's willing to donate his 30-acre property in 'Ahuimanu to a nonprofit foundation that would establish a rural drug treatment program. His offer was met with loud applause, and three psychiatric nurses volunteered to be his staff.

"For the past eight years, I have been working together with my assistant, Ms. Chin Lin, to make a reality of what is now just a vision — a place in which deep ecology and healing meet," Twentyman said.

Kahalu'u supporters last evening included members of the Honolulu Police Department who said they were gathering ideas to take to a Mililani meeting; Special Agent Christopher Tolley with the Drug Enforcement Administration, who said he will work with a task force to address Kahalu'u drug problems but couldn't comment on any ongoing investigations; and U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo.

Kubo said he's spoken to state Attorney General Mark Bennett, who promised to implement a new law on nuisance abatement that will target drug houses and banyan trees where drug deals and users gather. Bennett will assign an attorney to bring civil suits against property owners who allow illegal activities on their property, he said.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.