Drug Treatment Programs are Keeping Adult and Adolescents Off Drugs, But Meth Use Among Older Adults Rising

Posted on Sep 14, 2015 in Ola Lokahi

There is good news and not-so-golder adultsood news about substance abuse in our islands, according to the 2015 Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services Report, which was recently published by Hawaii Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division.

First the good news: Over the past five years, more than half of the adults and adolescents who participated in a substance abuse treatment program and completed a six-month follow-up survey had remained clean, reporting no substance use in 30 days prior to the follow-up.  The majority had managed their lives well without any  arrests, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits since they had been discharged from the treatment programs.

In a six-month follow-up study in 2014, almost all adolescents were attending school and nearly 70% of adults were employed.

Now the not-so-good news: The five-year study showed the percentage of adults 50 years and older that reported methamphetamine as their primary substance has nearly doubled in the past five years. However, the Department of Health’s Adult Drug and Alcohol Division, which currently funds 28 providers statewide that focus on meth treatment, plans to continue supporting programs and services to treat meth users.
The Hawaii State Department of Health commissioned University of Hawaii’s Center on the Family to conduct the extensive research and analysis to assess the alcohol and drug problem in our state.

The distribution of the report coincides with National Recovery Month, a nationwide recognition of various alcohol and drug treatment programs and initiatives focused on recovery efforts. The national theme of this year’s celebration is: “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal and Valuable!”
“One of the Hawaii Department of Health’s foremost priorities is to make the recovery efforts visible, give a voice to those who have recovered, and inspire others in the community to see how valuable these programs have been,” said Virginia Pressler, M.D., director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. “We may all know a friend, neighbor or relative who may be bound by alcohol and drug abuse. These are encouraging statistics for all of us in Hawaii.”

The success of the recovery programs in Hawaii has largely been the result of collaboration. The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the Hawaii Department of Health remains the primary source of public funds for substance abuse prevention and treatment services in Hawaii.

Over the past five years, from 2010 to 2014, Hawaii invested an average of $17 million in state and federal funds each year to address alcohol and drug abuse. In 2014, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division provided funding for 24 agencies at 52 sites to provide treatment for adults, and 10 agencies at 107 sites to offer services for adolescents. In the five-year period, there was a 26% increase in sites for adolescents and a 16% increase in sites for adults.

The Hawaii State Department of Health is now in the planning stages for transition and case management services as a next step in the treatment and recovery process to fill the community’s need. A request for proposal for these services will be issued in 2016 for services that begin 2017.

The department’s 2015 Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services Report is available at: https://health.hawaii.gov/substance-abuse/files/2015/09/ADTreatmentServices2014.pdf.