Hawai‘i Police Department
Criminal Investigation Division – Area II
Captain Thomas Shopay
Phone: (808) 326-4646, Ext. 263
With Halloween approaching, Hawai’i Police Department is reminding the public to be aware of the dangers of fentanyl, which has been recovered by police during drug arrests across the island.
Last month, Area I (east Hawai‘i) Vice officers made six fentanyl related arrests, recovering 475 M-30 fentanyl pills and 0.9 grams of powdered fentanyl. On the westside, Area II Vice officers also made six drug arrests last month, recovering 69 M-30 fentanyl pills and 55.7 grams of powdered fentanyl. From January 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022, Area I Vice recovered a total of 1,718 M-30 fentanyl pills and a total of 2.3 grams of powdered fentanyl, while Area II recovered 2,550 pills and 218.9 grams of powdered fentanyl.
“This drug is way more dangerous than anything else we’ve encountered in recent years,” says Detective Jesse Kerr, of HPD’s Area I Vice Section. He is 24-year-veteran of the department, who has worked in Vice for more than four years.
One of the factors making illicit fentanyl so dangerous is that it is 50 times more deadly than heroin. Plus just a tiny amount of fentanyl, as little as two milligrams (about one grain of Hawaiian salt) can be fatal in a non-opioid-tolerant person.
In addition, drug traffickers are disguising fentanyl as legitimate prescription pills, such as Adderall, Xanax, and OxyContin, or pressing it in colored pill form such as rainbow fentanyl.
“We used to see blue colored pills,” says Detective Kerr “and now we’re seeing fentanyl pills in all different colors as the drug traffickers try to elude law enforcement.”
“The risk is that people might unintentionally ingest something not realizing it may contain fentanyl,” adds Captain Thomas Shopay, of HPD’s Area II Criminal Investigation Division.
“People of all ages should always make sure they know the origin of the medication they take and to not take pills from unknown sources, even if they come from friends.” He notes that the drug landscape is dramatically different from even just a few years ago and encourages all parents and caregivers to be educated about current drug threats and to have informed talks with their kids.
If you encounter prescription medication or drugs of unknown origin, don’t touch them. Try to determine the item’s identity by checking with people who could have placed it there. If unable to determine its origin and the drug-related item seems suspicious, notify Hawai‘i Island police at (808) 935-3311.
An individual experiencing fentanyl poisoning may exhibit one or more of the following:
An option may be to administer Naloxone, if it is available and you have received training in its administration. The Hawai‘i Health and Harm Reduction Center offers a free dose of Naloxone to all residents of Hawai‘I at https://www.hhhrc.org/naloxone.
If you have information on suspected fentanyl trafficking please contact police at (808) 935-3311. Additionally, reports can be made for East Hawai`i to the Area I Vice section tip line at (808) 934-8423, or for West Hawai`i to the Area II Vice Section tip line at (808) 329-0423.
Below are additional resources available to help further your education on this topic:
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
The Crime Stoppers TV Program is available on-demand from Nā Leo TV.