East Oahu Teens Join Hawaii Meth Council’s Anti-drug Battle
Methamphetamine has been Hawaii’s No. 1 drug problem for decades, and for the past five years Hawaii Meth Project and its Teen Advisory Council have been trying to change that through public-awareness campaigns and community outreach.
Among the students inducted into the 2014-2015 council are two East Oahu students.
Kaiser High senior Tiana Igarashi and Kaimuki High senior Caitlin Okamoto now represent the East side on the 22-member council, and they’re eager to help spread the message. They agree, however, that how the message gets spread is important.
“I believe that providing visual proof and examples of drug use is the most effective drug-prevention method with young people,” stated Okamoto. “Some teens heed verbal warnings, but I feel that many teens are more likely to listen to warnings when they are shown specific, tangible examples of exactly what happens by their peers.”
Igarashi agreed. “Everyone has heard facts and stories about meth users,” she stated, “and I don’t think that people really understand what they mean.”
Both are resolved to use their time with HMP to make sure that their peers understand the danger of meth use.
Also endorsed by the council is the annual “Break the Ice” visual art contest designed to carry the message to grades 7-12. “We are excited to support this contest,” said fellow TAC member Mari Domingo of Mililani High. “It is aligned with our efforts to promote healthy and educational activities among our peers.” Several cash prizes are at stake for the best original entries. Deadline is Oct. 20, and details are at hawaiimethproject.org.
HMP was founded in 2009, and is one of six state affiliates of The Meth Project, a nationwide program dedicated to reducing methamphetamine use. For more information, visit hawaiimethproject.org.