HONOLULU (KHON2) — Fentanyl is taking the world by storm. And by storm, this reporter means disaster.

The Drug Enforcement Agency said that “according to the CDC, there were 107,375 people in the United States who died of drug overdoses and drug poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022”. 

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A staggering 67% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The DEA indicated that some of those deaths were associated with fentanyl that was mixed in with other illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

And many of those users were unaware they were actually taking fentanyl. The Center for Disease Control said that there were 109,680 overdose deaths in the United States in 2022.

In Hawaiʻi, government agencies and non-profits have been working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of fentanyl on the islands. For 2021, there were 91 opioid related deaths in Hawaiʻi.

Now, this does not mean we shouldn’t be vigilant. But it does demonstrate how hard Officials and non-profits are working to prevent high numbers of deaths in the islands.

Let’s take a look at the statistics that Hawaiʻi Island police released for the month of May in 2023.

According to police:

  • There were a total of 13 fentanyl related arrests:
    • 10 in Area I (east Hawai‘i).
    • Three in Area II (west Hawai‘i).
  • Police recovered a total of 87.53 grams of illicit fentanyl last month, including:
    • 9.13 grams in Area I.
    • 78.4 grams in Area II.
  • Police recovered 77 pills:
    • two pills in Area I.
    • 75 pills in Area II.

“Hawai‘i Police Department is committed to fighting drugs on island and apprehending those that distribute and sell illegal narcotics,” said a spokesperson for Hawaiʻi police. “In recent years, the use of illicit fentanyl has reached epidemic proportions on the mainland and Hawai‘i.”

Police said that there are criminal drug networks that are either purposefully or inadvertently mixing fentanyl into illegal, counterfeit pills.

For help, Hawaiʻi police provided a few options:

  • (808) 329-“ZERO-ICE” (808) 329-0423 — Information pertaining to districts of Kaʻū, Kona, South Kohala, and North Kohala.
  • (808) 934-“VICE” (808) 934-8423— Information pertaining to districts of Puna, South Hilo, North Hilo, and Hāmākua.
  • For fentanyl safety tips, how to recognize fentanyl poisoning, and more, please go to HPD’s website.

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  • If you have information relating to illicit drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues such as prostitution, gambling, and other related crimes, Hawai‘i Police Department encourages you to call our East Hawaiʻi and West Hawaiʻi Vice Sections 24-hour anonymous vice/drug tip hotline.