HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Drug Enforcement Agency gave a stark warning on Friday, Oct. 28 and said drug use is up on the islands.

Officials said cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine are getting to Hawai’i by air and boat. They want everyone to be on alert with Halloween right around the corner.

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DEA officials said at least five people on O’ahu overdosed on fentanyl and died in the last four weeks.

There have been six overdose deaths on Hawai’i Island in 2022 and some on Kaua’i as well. Officials said all illegal drugs are coming from below the southern border.

“They’re made by ruthless and violent Mexican cartels who are killing each other by the thousands in competition to get their drug products, primarily methamphetamine and fentanyl and heroin,” said High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas official Gary Yabuta. “It’s smuggled across the southwest border into the West Coast and from the West Coast distributors, it’s flown here.”

Yabuta pointed out that drugs can also arrive on marine cargo containers.

Yabuta said post-traumatic stress from COVID, anxiety and academic pressure could be to blame for the increased demand.

“All of this is manifesting and that’s why we really have to all work together and try to overcome the trauma of COVID-19 and the influx of drugs,” Yabuta said.

Criminals often target youth and young adults — and with Halloween approaching — Yabuta advised parents to be extra vigilant.

“We advocate that you only receive, or your children only receive candy from those that you know, friend and family.”

Gary Yabuta, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas official

Officials said the chances of a criminal putting a fentanyl-laced pill inside a trick-or-treat bag are extremely low, but there is everything to lose.

“That low risk could be extremely deadly if a child were to take that particular fentanyl-laced candy and consume it,” Yabuta said.

Police departments across the state said parents should stick right beside trick-or-treating keiki. They also advised folks to throw away any candy that looks tampered with.

Click here to watch the Honolulu Police Department’s newly-released alert that explains the dangers of fentanyl.

“I realize when they’re out in the, doing the trick-or-treating and stuff, many times the kids will grab stuff out of their bags and they’ll be eating it as they’re walking,” said Torey Keltner, Hawaii Police Department Traffic Services program manager.

If something doesn’t look right, don’t take the chance.”

Torey Keltner, Hawaii Police Department Traffic Services program manager

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“Don’t be scared, just be smart about what you’re doing,” Kelter said.