HONOLULU (KHKON2) — One of the more contentious moments of Tuesday night’s state of the union address was when President Joe Biden spoke about fentanyl and how to stop drug trafficking through packages.
According to a federal drug official, Hawaii’s counties continue to seize steady amounts of fentanyl in both powder and counterfeit pills. It’s generally manufactured by Mexican Cartels and shipped to the islands via parcels.
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“Let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production and the sale and trafficking with major drug detection machines, inspecting cargos to stop pills and powder at the border. Working with couriers like FedEx to inspect more packages for drugs,” President Biden said Tuesday night.
Fentanyl is a growing problem across the US, including Hawaii. The drug is still not as bad as methamphetamine on the islands.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, meth was responsible for 107 overdose deaths in 2020 – 2021. Fentanyl was responsible for 11 during that same timeframe.
“The most significant problem with detecting methamphetamine or any drug and the parcel delivery systems is that the volume, I mean the volume is enormous,” Hawaii High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Executive Director Gary Yabuta said.
Both drugs have a similar supply chain to get to the islands. Bolstering the inspection of packages and mail can help, but it’s an uphill battle with how many packages are shipped every day.
“The most significant problem with detecting methamphetamine or any drug and the parcel delivery systems is that the volume I mean the volume is enormous,” Yabuta said. “Also, everybody that ships parcels has the right of privacy and that’s the fourth amendment right. So we can’t law enforcement can indiscriminately start ripping open boxes without probable cause.”
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