The Hawaii Opioid Initiative Strategic Planning event took place at the State Capitol Auditorium and began with a beautiful pule then Governor David Ige, who convened the statewide initiative in 2017, delivered opening remarks. Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin was invited to give an update on the Hawaii Medication Drop Box & Disposal Program. Other speakers included Senators Rosalyn Baker and Josh Green, Dr. Alvin Bronstein, Department of Health’s Chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, and Dan Galanis, Injury Epidemiologist at the same branch.
The Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program is a public health and public safety partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Department of the Attorney General, Department of Health, Department of Public Safety, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Hawaii, Maui, Honolulu, and Kauai Police Departments. 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. After several meetings, the roles and responsibilities of these police departments were determined and implemented to sustain the Drop Box Program by utilizing federal, state, and county resources.
On July 16, state, county and federal agencies joined Lt. Governor Chin at a press conference to officially launch the Hawaii Medication Drop Box and Disposal Program with a large metal drop box on display, which is when Lt. Governor Chin said, “This program is a game-changer for a serious public health issue. By being proactive, we made it easier to remove dangerous drugs from our homes, schools and streets 365 days a year.”
The Maui, Hawaii and Kauai Police Departments have set up drop boxes at various stations and on Oahu at the Narcotics Enforcement Division or NED office. The NED continues to coordinate with county police departments to ensure the environmentally-safe disposal of the unused drugs collected in the drop boxes.
Members of the Hawaii Medication Drop Box Program have always emphasized that the program will supplement, not replace the national drug take back events that state and federal law enforcement will continue twice a year. In fact, the next National Take Back Initiative will be taking place on October 27th across our state.
Since the Hawaii Medication Drop Box and Disposal Program kicked off two months ago, the state has collected about 145 pounds of prescription drugs.
Maui: 66 lbs
Hawaii: 6.5 lbs
Kauai: 44 lbs
Oahu/NED: 28.25 lbs
Lt. Governor Chin also reported that each agency taking part in the Medication Drop Box Program has received positive responses and smooth implementation at their respective locations. The next steps will be to educate more people about the Drop Box Program with a public media campaign and to expand its reach by incorporating new partners such as pharmacies, medical and community organizations. Members of the Hawaii Opioid Initiative will continue to work together toward reducing substance abuse in our communities and keeping our residents and visitors safe.