Hawaii Releases Opioid Action Plan

Officials released it Dec. 1. The plan was developed collaboratively by multiple agencies starting in July 2017.

The state of Hawaii released its Opioid Initiative Action Plan on Dec. 1. The plan was developed collaboratively by multiple agencies starting in July 2017 and serves as a roadmap for prevention and treatment of substance abuse, officials said.

"Fortunately, Hawaii has not yet experienced the magnitude of the opioid crisis seen in other parts of the country," Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige said. "While emerging issues and concerns in the state are on the rise, we have been given a relatively unique opportunity to proactively respond, prepare, and prevent the crisis from reaching the same magnitude."

Officials said the plan is designed to sustain a coordinated and proactive response to not only opioids, but also methamphetamine and other prevalent drugs. The collaborative effort is led by the state Department of Health, together with the Department of the Attorney General, Department of Human Services Med-QUEST Division, Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division, and a range of community groups.

The plan identifies six key focus areas:

  • treatment access
  • prescriber education
  • data-informed decision making
  • prevention and public education
  • pharmacy-based interventions
  • supporting law enforcement and first responders

"The plan is a living document and should be viewed as a beginning rather than an end," said Edward Mersereau, chief of the Hawaii Department of Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. "To maintain momentum, working groups will continue to meet to track progress and to expand or adjust the plan as additional data and outcomes are obtained."

The document recommends an amendment to the state law related to Hawaii's Prescription Monitoring Program. The recommended change would grant additional authority for the DPS Narcotics Enforcement Division to provide PMP data to specific divisions of the Department of Health for public health surveillance purposes.

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