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Illicit drug abuse levels in the Hawaii HIDTA region are high, particularly for ice methamphetamine. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) reveal that methamphetamines/amphetamines were identified more often than any other drug, including alcohol, as the primary substance of abuse for treatment admissions to publicly funded facilities in Hawaii from 2003 through 2007 (the latest year for which data are available). The number of treatment admissions for marijuana abuse is also high and increasing, but is not considered to be as significant as the number for methamphetamine abuse, the effects of which are much more difficult to treat. Cocaine, heroin, and ODDs are also abused throughout Hawaii, but to a lesser extent. The abuse of controlled prescription narcotics such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and methadone takes place at lower levels than the abuse of other drugs; however, controlled prescription narcotic abuse is increasing and is a growing concern in Hawaii. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. Number of Drug-Related Treatment Admissions to Publicly Funded Facilities in Hawaii, 2003-2007

Drug Type 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Methamphetamine/amphetamines 2,570 2,381 2,624 2,181 2,184
Marijuana/hashish 1,391 1,215 1,577 1,618 1,783
Cocaine 317 279 222 302 245
Heroin 181 156 162 160 148
Other opioids 181 112 155 134 173

Source: Treatment Episode Data Set.

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Illicit Finance

Various money laundering techniques are commonly used by traffickers in the Hawaii HIDTA region to mask the origins of their drug proceeds. Drug traffickers primarily use package delivery services, but also employ couriers aboard commercial flights, to transport drug proceeds in bulk from Hawaii to drug source areas. Traffickers also launder drug proceeds through the use of wire remittance services, money services businesses, and structured bank transactions. Moreover, a number of traffickers, particularly retail-level traffickers, launder drug proceeds through the purchase of expensive consumer items such as automobiles, clothing, and jewelry. Mexican and Asian DTOs are the most prominent drug money launderers in the region.

Mexican DTOs send drug proceeds primarily by package delivery services, U.S. mail, air couriers, or maritime freight from locations throughout Hawaii either directly to Mexico or through major collection sites on the U.S. mainland--Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas--en route to Mexico. Asian DTOs frequently use drug proceeds to purchase commercial and residential property, both in their home countries and throughout the state.

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