3,000 pounds of medications, including opioids, collected at Take Back initiative

Officials said the initiative serves two purposes, public safety and public health.
Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 6:01 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 30, 2022 at 10:12 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Drug Enforcement Agency said its 23rd annual Take Back Initiative across the islands is focused on educating residents about fentanyl.

DEA investigator Gary Whisenand said the initiative serves two purposes: public safety and public health. He said drugs collected during the initiative are incinerated.

On Saturday, people from across Oahu made their way to the collection site at the Pearl City police station.

“This is a wonderful service because I had leftover medications from a surgery, I had a few years ago and I was nervous having them around the house,” said Kenton Kramer of Pearl City.

“So to be able to drop them off this is really nice.”

“So, this is a nice, safe way to actually return it and keep it in a kind of like closed cycle,” added Ruth Amancio of Waipahu. “Where it’s given back to authorities and they will take care of proper disposal.”

According to the DEA, over 3,000 pounds of medication were collected at 10 collection sites across the state on Saturday.

With so many people voluntarily turning in their medication Saturday, law enforcement is also raising awareness about the risks of fentanyl and fake pills with brochures as overdose cases and deaths have spiked.

“Counterfeit pills that we’re seeing on the street all have Fentanyl in it and unfortunately, the Fentanyl is deadly,” said Whisenand. “It only takes a small dose and so just one pill could kill a person.”

“I mean, it’s a scary thought that it’s out there,” said Amancio.

The next Take Back Day is the last Saturday of April next year.

Longs Drugs has nine Oahu locations with medication drop boxes.