Substance and Alcohol Abuse in Hawaii

The People of Hawaii are Hurting

In its 2018 report to the state legislature, the Prevent Suicide Hawaii Taskforce reported that suicide is the most common cause of fatal injuries, accounting for 25% of those deaths and outpacing car crashes, homicide, unintentional poisoning and drowning. One person dies by suicide in Hawai‘i every three days, the report says. The triggers are heart-breaking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Hawaii experienced 203 drug overdose deaths, almost 14% of the state’s total deaths in 2017.
The Hawaii state Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD), in its 2019 report to the state legislature, reported that almost 10% of O‘ahu’s adults are in need of treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
ADAD also reports that among school-age youth, girls outpace boys in their need for intervention, and that by 12th grade, almost 18% of students meet criteria for substance abuse or dependence.
Among the adults admitted for substance abuse treatment in 2018, 30% were homeless. As reported by the ADAD, the tragedy hits all ages, ethnicities, and islands, and recovery is a long and painful road for addicts and their families.

The Sand Island Treatment Center agrees with prominent Hawaii-based organizations that the social ecological model of treatment — conceptualizing health broadly and including mental, physical, and social well-being — is a cornerstone of treatment.

That’s why our program is unique, with a long-term continuum of care that addresses not just the addiction, but the numerous underlying conditions that our clients struggle with. Without working through mental and physical health concerns, re-establishing social skills and support systems, and finding meaning in their clean and sober life, relapse and recidivism is much more likely. At SITC, that’s not acceptable. That’s not a solution. Instead, it’s a revolving door.

Prevent Suicide Hawaii Taskforce Strategic Plan

Mental Health Problems Challenges

Life Stressors


Mistreatment Aggression

No Support


Family Problems (finances, divorce)



Stagnation Boredom


Not accepted by Friends

Judgement not being

Social media drama

No Interest

Not recognizing

Relationship Issues

Expectations Social/

Sexual Assault

Feeling no connection to…

Drugs and Alcohol Use

Academic Pressure

Society Standards

Domestic Violence

Feeling lonely

Chemical Imbalance


Peer Pressure


Feeling as if no one listens to them



Low self-esteem


Lack of support


Survivor of abuse/ assault

LGBTQ Bullying