HONOLULU (KHON2) — Unbelievable amounts, that’s how officials are describing some of the fentanyl busts in Hawaii.
“Enough to kill an entire island by the size of Kauai, some of these seizures,” said Gary Yabuta, Hawaii High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Director.
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The CDC said fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and even the smallest amount could be deadly, but it’s often hidden.
According to court documents, police recovered 1,352 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl mailed from Washington to Kona earlier this month.
“What they’re trying to do is make it look like a prescription, an actual prescription pill, but it is not,” said Capt. Thomas Shopay of Hawaii Police Department Area II Vice Section.
Back in November, police recovered $1 million worth of fentanyl in Kona. Officers were able to link the death of a minor to that fentanyl bust too.
“I don’t think anybody in my office at the time had any idea that it would have transpired to be as big as it was,” said Officer Justin Gaspar of the Hawaii Police Department Area II Vice Section.
The family of the late Colt Brennan believes fentanyl is what claimed his life.
“How he ended up taking it or meant to take it or didn’t mean to take it, I don’t know,” said Terry Brennan, Colt Brennan’s father. “The nurse just kind of said to me, Mr. Brennan we see this a lot, and it’s not good. It doesn’t take much. You don’t even have to be a consistent user of fentanyl.”
Hilo Medical Center said if the patient is still breathing doctors will administer Narcan IVs. Police said Naloxone may be an option, if it’s available. The Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center now gives out Naloxone by request.
While officials are battling the influx of fentanyl making its way to the islands by mail and cargo, they’re going after traffickers.
“What we’re trying to do is focus our investigations on dismantling the larger suppliers in an effort to stop that illicit fentanyl before it hits our streets and is distributed within the community,” said Shopay.
Big Island police tells me their goal is to save lives before it’s too late.
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“We’re out there doing it, trying to do our job and eliminate this poison from our communities,” said Gaspar.