Opioid Effort: Tighter safeguards, increased awareness and expanding reach among upgrades in drug abuse battle

Hawaii Fire Department EMS Capt. Chris Honda holds reversal medication for a person suffering an overdose of narcotics Thursday at Central Fire Station in Hilo. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)
Dr. Michael McGrath demonstrates telemedicine from his office at the Recovery Enhanced Medicine Institute in Kailua-Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a five-part series by West Hawaii Today focusing on opioid addiction on Hawaii Island. It begins with how a heroin overdose played a vital role in the shuttering of a well-known Kailua-Kona homeless camp and finishes on what more needs to be done to fight painkiller abuse. Eye-opening stats will be presented along the way: Hawaii County’s prescription rate doubles every other county in the state, while a vast majority of overdose calls are in homes and condos, not in homeless sites.