The Hawaii Meth Project has produced a fresh set of TV spots to warn teenagers
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jun 30, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 6:10 p.m. HST, Jul 1, 2011
Hawaii teenagers and young adults see greater risks in using methamphetamine as the latest anti-meth ads begin today with a new focus on how meth destroys island families.
CASES DROPHonolulu Police Department Narcotics/Vice Division meth cases >> 2008: 400
>> 2009: 338
>> 2010: 394v
>> 2011 (as of April): 147
* Data include cases, not arrests, and does not include meth cases from other HPD units. Source: Honolulu Police Department
CHANGING MINDSMeth attitudes among Hawaii teens since 2009 >> 79 percent of Hawaii teenagers see “great risk” in trying meth — a 6 percentage-point increase from 2009.
>> 70 percent see “great risk” of meth use leading to sex with someone they don’t want to have sex with — up 10 points since 2009.
>> 64 percent of Hawaii teenagers see a “great risk” of becoming violent from meth use — up 9 points.
Source: Hawaii Meth Project
The 30-second commercials include the voice of a boy talking about how close he's always been to his mother and how she's always been there for him — over images of him stealing money from her purse and knocking her to the kitchen floor when she gets in his way.
Another commercial includes the voice of a girl describing how she and her friends do everything together — as the friends dump her drug-overdosed body in front of a hospital and speed away.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Marrero of Ewa Beach said he hopes the ads and commercials prevent young people in Hawaii from trying meth and destroying their families the same way his family has been torn apart.
"Meth turns people psychotic and the family goes through a lot," Marrero said Wednesday. "Meth is a very addictive drug that tears people at every level — at the individual level, at the family level and at the community level."
Marrero and his wife, Jodie, no longer speak to their 22-year-old daughter after years of disagreeing on how best to deal with her meth addiction, which began at age 15 while she was attending Leilehua High School. She was frequently arrested.
They don't know where their daughter sleeps at night. But they know she's still around because they regularly log on to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center to track her progression through the court system.
On Tuesday, the Marreros made the painful decision to not include her in next week's wedding of their youngest daughter, 20. "I'm not going to let her ruin my daughter's special day," Sgt. Maj. Marrero said.
From 2008 to 2010, Marrero was in charge of 3,800 soldiers as command sergeant major for the 25th Infantry's 3rd Brigade Combat Team on a deployment to Iraq.
"I had better control over 3,000 soldiers than my own daughter," he said. "My own daughter — I can't even help her."
The commercials that begin airing today were produced on the mainland and directed by Academy Award nominee Darren Aronofsky of "Black Swan" and "The Wrestler" fame.
The commercials will be followed in September by radio ads that include the voices of six young meth users from Hawaii, said Cindy Adams, executive director of the nonprofit Hawaii Meth Project.
The Hawaii Meth Project will unveil all of the print, television, radio and online ads this afternoon at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua, where at least one of the young meth users featured in the radio spots has since been returned to custody, Adams said.
The National Meth Project pays for the ads' production, and the Hawaii Meth Project, which receives no state or federal tax money, pays to have them air on television.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ranks Hawaii fifth in the nation for meth use by people age 12 and older. And 75 percent of all Hawaii drug enforcement operations are meth-related, more than all other drugs combined, according to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Drug Intelligence Center.
Forty-three percent of federal convictions in Hawaii involve methamphetamine, says the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Since the Hawaii Meth Project began in 2009, attitudes among teenagers in Hawaii have been souring toward meth use, according to a survey:
» 79 percent of Hawaii teenagers see "great risk" in trying meth, a 6 percentage-point increase from 2009.
» 70 percent see meth leading to "great risk" of having sex with an unwanted partner, up 10 points.
» 64 percent of Hawaii teenagers see a "great risk" of becoming violent from meth use, up 9 points.
The Hawaii Meth Project's 2011 Hawaii Meth Use & Attitudes Survey can be found at www.HawaiiMethProject.org.