Death by a foreign nuclear attack threatens, but horrifyingly, the United States’ largest mass killer is American-made and -distributed. Its nationwide body count in 2016 alone — 64,000 — surpasses the total U.S. troops killed in the 20-year Vietnam War. Already in Hawaii, an escalating number of people die of it each year, outpacing fatal auto crashes.
Its name is opioid — a class of painkillers that doctors often prescribe — and Hawaii’s statistics show we’re on pace to suffer the rampant consequences from the deadliest drug crisis to ever hit American soil, spreading faster than the HIV epidemic at its peak.
Gripped by this reality, we must push and support the state’s bipartisan Hawaii Opioid Initiative newly released last month, two legislative bills that I am introducing and heightened public awareness to protect ourselves.