The youngest leprosy patient in Kalaupapa from the remote northern peninsula of Molokai was charged with trying to ship methamphetamine from Honolulu to Kalaupapa last month.

Allegedly, the 68 year old man tried to mail more than an ounce of crystal meth during a trip in February.

Situated on the leeward side of the peninsula, Kalaupapa Settlement is still home for several surviving Hansen’s disease patients whose memories and experiences are cherished values. Once a community in isolation, Kalaupapa now serves as a place for education and contemplation.

He is being indicted with one charge of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute the drug.

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract and also the eyes, apart from some other structures.

The exact mechanism of transmission of leprosy is not known. At least until recently, the most widely held belief was that the disease was transmitted by contact between cases of leprosy and healthy persons. More recently the possibility of transmission by the respiratory route is gaining ground.

There are many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with a significant number of leprosy cases.