Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin announced Monday — with members of state, county and federal agencies — a major statewide collaboration to ensure a more convenient way for the public to drop off unused prescription drugs at designated police stations across the state.
The Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program is a public health and public safety partnership between the Department of the Attorney General (AG), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Public Safety (PSD), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Hawaii, Maui, Honolulu, and Kauai Police Departments. After several meetings, the roles and responsibilities of these departments have been determined, with a cooperative understanding, to implement and sustain the Drop Box Program by utilizing federal, state, and county resources.
“This is a game-changer for a serious public health issue,” said Lt. Governor Chin. “We’re being proactive and making it easier to remove dangerous drugs from our homes, schools and streets 365 days a year.”
The Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program will supplement, not replace the national drug take back events that state and federal law enforcement plan to continue twice a year. From 2010 to 2017, nearly 30,500 pounds of prescription drugs were collected here at previous events and disposed of safely.
“Not everyone can take advantage of national and state prescription drug take back events. We are pleased that the public can, at their convenience, safely dispose of unused and unwanted medications at the participating law enforcement agencies,” said First Deputy Attorney General Dana Viola.
In 2017, Governor David Ige convened a statewide Opioid Initiative to prevent experiencing the alarming rate of opioid-related overdoses and deaths as seen in other states. The multi-agency collaboration resulted in an action plan, which included implementing a Medication Drop Box Program with the help of police departments in every county.
“The Hawaii Opioid Initiative has really shown how much can be accomplished when we all work together,” said DOH Director, Dr. Bruce Anderson. “The drop boxes are just one example of the impact this collaboration has had in our community. The Department of Health is proud to be a part of this incredible multi-agency partnership.”
“The DEA applauds the efforts that the State of Hawaii has made to offer year-round medication drop-boxes,” said John Callery, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Honolulu District Office. “This is another step in the right direction to thwart our nation’s opioid crisis in our communities here in Hawaii. Mahalo to the Governor’s Office and our law enforcement leadership for spearheading this outstanding initiative.”
Each drop box is made of 14-gauge powder-coated steel and weighs 150 pounds. They measure 61 inches tall, 21.5 inches wide and 22 inches deep. Participating police departments are implementing the Drop Box Program on their respective island according to their policies, protocols and designated locations.
“This Medication Drop Box Program is another means for local law enforcement to work collaboratively with the community in minimizing the accessibility and abuse of dangerous prescription drugs,” said Hawaii Police Chief Paul Ferreira. “I’m glad we can offer a safe and convenient alternative to disposing unwanted or expired medication.”
The Drop Box Program will also help deter the public from discarding expired medicine in the trash or down the toilet, polluting the environment. Proper disposal helps reduce the risk of prescription drugs entering the human water supply or potentially harming aquatic life.
“With the increasing problem of opioid abuse throughout the nation, we believe this proactive approach to addressing this epidemic will help our communities avoid the horrible effects of opioids,” said Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu. “As a tri-isle county, this service will help our community dispose of unwanted medicine.”
Maui Police already received six drop boxes while Kauai Police got three and Hawaii Police received eight. Every steel drop box will be bolted into place and accessible to the public.
“A medication drop box provides a way for the public to safely dispose of unused prescription medications all year long, and further prevents the misuse and abuse of these drugs,” said Kauai Acting Police Chief Michael Contrades. “The Kauai Police Department is pleased to provide this medication drop box for our community, which is located at police headquarters in Lihue.”
On Oahu, the public can drop off unused medication at the office of PSD’s State Narcotics Enforcement Division. NED will also coordinate with the county police departments to ensure the environmentally-safe disposal of the unused drugs collected in the drop boxes.
“The Department of Public Safety supports the Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program because it is a convenient, safe, and anonymous way for the public to dispose of their unwanted medications,” said PSD Director Nolan Espinda.
From the beginning, the Honolulu Police Department has been and will continue to be an active member of the statewide initiative. However, HPD will not have drop boxes at their stations for now. Through a federal grant, DOH purchased several drop boxes and there are nine boxes available when HPD is ready to implement the program.
“The Honolulu Police Department continues to support the Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program and the efforts of all the participating agencies,” said Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard.
Every state, county and federal agency involved in this program is committed to working together to keep Hawaii safe. As members of the Hawaii Opioid Initiative, they will continue to work toward reducing substance abuse in our communities.
For photos and more information about the Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program, go to http://health.hawaii.gov/substance-abuse/ and by Aug. 1, 2018 to www.hawaiiopioid.org.
Current Locations of Drop Boxes:
Island of Hawaii:
- Hilo Station at 349 Kapiolani Street
- Puna Station at 15-2615 Keaau-Pahoa Highway, Pahoa
- Kona Station at 74-611 Hale Makai Place, Kailua-Kona
Island of Maui:
- Wailuku Station at 55 Mahalani Street (placed within Receiving Desk Lobby)
- Lanai Station at 855 Fraser Avenue, Lanai City (placed within front lobby)
- Hana Station at 4611 Hana Highway, Hana (location to be finalized)
- Lahaina Station at 1850 Honoapiilani Highway, Lahaina (placed within front lobby)
- Molokai Station at 110 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai (location to be finalized)
- Kihei Station at 2201 Piilani Highway, Kihei (placed within front lobby)
Island of Kauai:
- Lihue Station at 3990 Kaana Street, Lihue
Island of Oahu:
- State Narcotics Enforcement Division at 3375 Koapaka Street, #D-100, Honolulu