Hawaii is known as one of the healthiest states, but something is threatening this reputation. If you live in Hawaii, you’ve most likely seen how drug abuse has started to affect the people in your state.

In particular, 7 drugs are causing real problems. Take a look at the 7 most used drugs in Hawaii and learn why they’re so dangerous for the state’s public health:

#1. Alcohol

If you’re over 21, drinking alcohol isn’t illegal in Hawaii. Still, alcohol abuse leaves its mark on the state’s public health. Here are a few facts about the alcohol problem in Hawaii:

  • In 2018, 21.3% of Hawaiians said they’d been binge drinking in the past month. That’s more than the national average.
  • From 2006-2010, more than 300 people died in Hawaii because of alcohol.
  • 17% of teenagers in Hawaii said they’d started drinking alcohol before age 13. 

#2. Methamphetamine

Hawaii has a big problem with meth. Unlike most states, more people in Hawaii check in to rehab for meth than any other illegal drug. Recently, it even surpassed marijuana. In fact, almost half of Hawaiians in treatment centers for illegal drugs are there for methamphetamine.

Crystal meth is a really big problem in Hawaii. Between 2013 and 2015, police found almost 750 lbs of it. It’s often made by untrained people or brought to Hawaii from other countries, so it’s impossible to know the quality of the drug. That on top of its highly addictive properties cause a lot of health problems for Hawaiians. It can even cause overdose and death.

#3. Marijuana

Among illegal drugs, marijuana is second only to methamphetamine when it comes to treatment center admissions in Hawaii. In 2012, almost 40% checked in because of it.

Hawaii is also home to a lot of marijuana farms. Since it’s an island, it’s hard to bring drugs in from other states. Plus, the climate is good for growing. As a result, Hawaii is often in the top five states for number of marijuana plants found by the police.

#4. Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that raises your risk of heart attack and stroke. It’s also very addictive, and people who suffer from cocaine abuse sometimes turn to crime to pay for the expensive drug.

For a long time, cocaine use was going down. It was mostly being replaced by methamphetamine. Unfortunately, people have begun to use more cocaine, and meth use has kept going up, too. Using cocaine with other drugs makes it extra dangerous.

#5. Heroin

Heroin has been a health problem in the US for a long time, and Hawaii is no exception. A lot of times it’s cheaper than other opioids. When people get addicted to expensive prescriptions, they start using heroin because it doesn’t cost as much.

You can see how bad heroin is for Hawaii in these numbers:

  • 2017: 10 Hawaiians died from heroin overdoses.
  • 2007: 12 people had trouble with the police in Hawaii because of heroin.
  • 2012: around 5% of Hawaiian rehab check-ins were for heroin. That’s as much as cocaine.

#6. Other Opioids

Heroin isn’t the only opioid that’s hurting people in Hawaii. There are a lot of different kinds, from prescriptions like oxycodone to synthetic drugs like fentanyl. Fentanyl, for example, is really dangerous because it takes a small amount to overdose. Dealers cut a lot of other drugs with it, and that can lead to deaths.

The bad news is that opioid use is on the rise in Hawaii. Hawaii treatment center admissions for opioids besides heroin have been going up, and the death rate has been going up too. In 2017, 53 people died from opioid overdoses.

#7. Prescription Drugs

A lot of different kinds of prescription drugs are abused in Hawaii. Some of the biggest problems are the benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium and Ativan. Normally, doctors give these to people for anxiety, but a lot of people abuse them for their calming effects.

A lot of people are afraid benzos will be America’s next drug problem. In fact, Hawaii is so worried about it that the government has passed laws controlling prescriptions. They hope this will keep them from becoming as bad as opioids.

Get Treatment for Substance Abuse in Hawaii

A lot of people in Hawaii are putting their health first and saying no to the state’s drug problem. You can too. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, don’t wait to call your nearest treatment center to learn about your options.


  1. Executive Office of the President of the United States. (n.d.). Hawaii State Profile
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, March 29). Hawaii Opioid Summary
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019, May 1). Hawaii Adolescent Substance Abuse Facts
  4. U.S. Department of Justice. (2007, June). Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Market Analysis
  5. United Health Foundation. (2020). Explore Excessive Drinking in Hawaii | 2019 Annual Report

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