So my girlfriend and I were walking through the Maui Ocean Center the other day. That place is great! I mean, it’s colorful and informative and cool (talking temperature here, as well as the act of being socially acceptable) and is just a fantastic way for people to spend a few hours. Well, mostly fantastic. See, while we were walking around, looking at the many vibrant and wonderful reef fish and generally minding our own business when the octopus—you know the one—in that one tank glares at me. Just up and glared at me! For no reason! Taken aback at first, I kinda stood there, dumbstruck. “What I ever do to you?” I asked him (I’m assuming it’s a him). And he just glared back at me! Then he kinda moved around the tank a little (it is rather cramped in there, I’ll give him that), and I thought that everything was cool. But it was not—as I’m walking away, the octopus reaches down and tries to steal my car keys! Yeah! So I kinda jumped back—as any red-blooded American would when presented with an octopus trying to steal his car keys—and said something to the effect of (the exact words escape me), “Dude? What gives?” And he was, like, just glaring at me again. But then he kind of relaxed his tentacles and settled back into the water, and I thought that maybe he’d just eaten a bad piece of fish or something and everything was cool now, when he suddenly whips out this brochure and starts trying to sell me term life insurance. Yeah! Term!
Believe it or not, I was not on drugs when I wrote that previous paragraph, but according to a Sept. 2 Associated Press story, people like me are fast becoming the minority in Hawaii. In fact, our state is tops in the nation in workplace methamphetamine use.
“Hawaii leads the nation in methamphetamine use among its workforce, according to a new study by a major drug testing company,” reported the AP. “In millions of test samples analyzed in 2010, Hawaii had a dramatic lead—410 percent greater than the national average—in tests coming up positive for the highly addictive drug stimulant, according to a Quest Diagnostics study obtained by The Associated Press.”
Hawaii is Number One! And it wasn’t even a close contest either. Arkansas came in second (no surprise there), a mere 280 percent over the national average, and third went to Oklahoma (again, completely believable), which scored 240 percent higher than the national average.
An intriguing aspect to the data is that workplace meth use is (currently) far higher in the western states than in the east. Now exactly why the Aloha State leads the nation in workplace meth use is somewhat of a mystery, though the AP story says a likely possibility is that so much of the economy out here is geared toward “mind-numbing, repetitive” service industry work (coupled with the stress caused by such a high cost of living).
If that assessment is correct, then dangerous drug use is all but hard-wired into our state’s societal fabric. And that thought is so depressing it almost makes want to go back and chat with that octopus.