More than 200 million prescription pain pills were supplied to Hawaii from 2006 to 2012, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration database made public by the Washington Post this week.
More pain pills per capita were distributed on the neighbor islands, especially Maui and the Big Island.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. in Wailuku, Maui, received nearly 6 million pills. Maui Health System is an affiliate of Kaiser Permanente, which took over operations of Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital in 2017.
Other pharmacies that distributed the most pills during the same six-year period were L Krenk, the parent company of Maui Clinic Pharmacy in Kahului, Shiigi Drug Co. in Hilo, a Safeway pharmacy in Hilo, and Oshima Brothers in Kealakekua.
The companies that distributed the most pills in Hawaii during the period were AmerisourceBergen Drug, at more than 100 million pills, McKesson Corporation with about 75 million pills, and Wal-Mart and Walgreen Co. with about 8 million pills each.
The five manufacturers that supplied the most pills to Hawaii were SpecGx LLC, Actavis Pharma, Inc., Par Pharmaceutical, Purdue Pharma LP, and Amneal Pharmaceuticals.
According to the government-backed Hawaii Opioid Initiative, Hawaii has “not yet experienced the magnitude of the opioid crisis seen in other parts of the country,” but is still working to develop a prevention plan, since many drug trends pop up late in Hawaii compared to the mainland.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of overdose deaths involving opioids. In 2017, there were 53 drug overdose deaths involving opioids, and the number of these deaths has not changed significantly over the past decade.
Also in 2017, Hawaii providers wrote 37 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people, which was one of the lowest rates in the nation.
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