HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawai’i Island Police Department has joined a fentanyl task force.

Police have a goal to educate the public on the dangers of fentanyl after seeing an increase in fentanyl being recovered in recent drug investigations.

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Police provide information to the County of Hawai’i, Hawai’i Island Community Health Center, and the Hawai’i Health and Harm Reduction Center.

Before 2020 less than one pound of fentanyl was seized statewide.

In 2020 – 2021 state wide there were 53 pounds of fentanyl recovered. On the Big Island in the same perod from 2020 – 2021 of those 53 pounds seized, 30 of them were on the Big Island.

“The increase is troubling because very small amounts of the fentanyl, sometimes an amount equivalent to a few grains a salt, can be fatal,” said Captain Shopay, who oversees Hawai’i Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Division.

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Police warn that illicit fentanyl made in an unregulated lab can be deadly.