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‘Take a Stand Against Meth’ winners

'Don't Let Meth Control You' by John Cabias

‘Don’t Let Meth Control You’ by John Cabias


The Hawaii Meth Project has announced the winners of its “Take a Stand Against Meth” art contest, a statewide initiative designed to leverage the creativity and passion of Hawaii’s young people to communicate the risks associated with methamphetamine use.

To compete in the contest, teens across the state created and entered paintings, drawings, and photographs, expressing their thoughts about meth use and discouraging others from trying this highly addictive drug.

A total of 61 entries were created by teens from the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui and Oahu.


* First Place – “Don’t Let Meth Control You” created by John Cabias, sophomore, Leilehua High School

* Second Place – “Down the Drain” created by Vincent Bercasio, freshmen, Pearl City High School

* People’s Choice Award – “Life or Meth” created by Joshua Camalig, junior, Waianae High School

“Once I understood how serious the meth problem was in our state, I felt compelled to participate in this art contest and express my thoughts about meth,” Cabias said.

Cabias’ hand-drawn piece depicts a human puppet on strings being controlled by the hand of meth.

“My inspiration came from a friend’s story about a family member who was using meth and how it fully took control of his life. After using meth he no longer cared about the things that used to be important to him – all he cared about was his next meth fix. Through my artwork I really wanted to express how addictive meth is and how it will take control of your life, even if you try it just once,” he said.

For his winning entry, Cabias received an Apple iPad.

Second place winner Vincent Bercasio said he participated because he wanted to help spread awareness about the dangers of meth and show his peers how bright the future can be without meth in their lives.

Bersacio was particularly inspired by the website’s interactive experience dedicated to the question “What is meth-induced psychosis?”

Visitors to the website navigate around a dark room using a flashlight to discover the devastating effects of meth-induced psychosis, including paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.

“I just thought, what a dark place meth sends you to, and how bright a future we can all have if we stay away from this dangerous drug,” Bercasio said.

“Down the Drain,” as Bercasio named his piece, depicts the future – including a college diploma and family – being flushed into a toilet next to the question, “Is it worth sending your whole future down the drain?”

Bercasio received an Apple iPod Touch as the second-place winner.

With a total of 346 votes on the Hawaii Meth Project Facebook page, the People’s Choice Award went to Joshua Camalig, who also received an Apple iPod Touch for his winning design.

Inspired by the “Mug Shot Match Up” on, where visitors are encouraged to match up mug shots of individuals before and after they became meth users, Camalig created his digital art piece, “Life or Meth,” which shows a scale balanced with “Life” on one side and “Meth” on the other, and the words “You Decide” below it.

Pictured on either side of the scale are the resulting possibilities and consequences of each choice, including Camalig’s appearance after choosing “Life” versus choosing “Meth.”

“I felt so honored to receive the People’s Choice Award,” Camalig said. “I think that many people chose my piece because they can relate to it – every decision we make in life affects our future – especially bad choices, like using meth, which can ruin your life and take away all of your dreams.”

Twelve entries were awarded honorable mentions, with entrants receiving a special Hawaii Meth Project prize pack.

Middle School Honorable Mention Winners:

* “Meth – Not Even Once” created by Freesia Recto, seventh grade, Washington Middle School

* “Mug Shot Match Up” created by Desmond Zadlo, eighth grade, Kapolei Middle School

High School Honorable Mention Winners:

* “Beating” created by Dyana Matthijssen, senior, Waianae High School

* “Don’t Let Meth Take Over Your Life” created by Nicole Jane Tagalicud, freshmen, Kapolei High School

* “Escaping Fear” created by Steven Wall, senior, Radford High School

* “Meth Back” created by Taylor Chaves-McCormich, senior, Hilo High School

* “Meth Equals Death” created by Michael-Angelo Ignacio, sophomore, Farrington High School

* “Meth Mind: a Nightmare Reality” created by Tristan Cubangbang, junior, Waiakea High School

* “Mind Over Meth” created by Kayla Caspillan, sophomore, Farrington High School

* “Meth Ruins Lives” created by Karyl Yamakawa, junior, Waiakea High School

* “Once is Too Much” created by Hannah Rossetti, senior, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus

* “Sanity” created by Grace Laird, junior, Kaiser High School

The winning works of art and other select pieces will be displayed online at the Hawaii State Capitol through March 22 and at Honolulu Hale (City Hall) from March 25 to April 12.

The work also can be seen at

Displays will also include large-scale aerosol art pieces, including “Meth Monkey” by well-known local street artist Katch 1 and “Life After Meth” by well-known local street artist Derek Ishii.

The winning pieces were selected by a panel of judges that included Ashlee Kozuma, Miss T.E.E.N Hawaii 2012 and Miss. T.E.E.N United States; Nikila Badua, artist, teacher, and youth mentor at 808Urban, a grassroots program mentoring at-risk youth through urban arts and cultural education; and Wei Fang, entrepreneur, artist, and art lecturer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Winners were chosen based on the originality of their concept, as well as their planning, execution, artistic merit, and creativity.

The “Take a Stand Against Meth” contest challenged Hawaii teens to create original works of art inspired by content from the website, a definitive source of information about the highly addictive drug and its social, mental, and physical impact.

As an inspiration for their artwork, teens chose from the more than 350 pieces of content on the site, including interactive facts, videos, animation, image galleries, personal stories from users, and first-hand accounts from experts. Works in any style or medium, with the exception of videos, were eligible for entry.

The Hawaii Meth Project is a non-profit organization that implements large-scale, research-based campaigns and community action programs to reduce methamphetamine use in the state. The Hawaii Meth Project is affiliated with the Meth Project, a national non-profit organization headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., aimed at significantly reducing meth use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach.

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