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Friday, May 27, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, May 27, 2022

Kanikapila Sunday in Nāʻālehu with Keoki Sereno's 'Ukulele Class
The concert will be on Sunday, May 29 at 11 a.m. at the Outdoor Pavilion behind United Methodist Church in
 Nāʻālehu. Students from Keoki Sereno's free 'ukulele classes will perform. Refreshments to follow.
Photo by Julia Neal

BAY CLINIC, THE COUNTY AND WEST HAWAI'I HEALTH CLINIC AIM TO TACKLE FENTANYL, and formed a Task Force to fight it. They announced on Friday that Hawai'i Island is experiencing an increase in Fentanyl overdoses. "Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. The dangerous drug is mixed into fake pain pills and other drugs, such as Xanax, without the users' knowledge. A tiny amount can be fatal."
Bay Clinic's Dr. Kimo Alameda leads the new task force to educate
  the public on he dangers of fentanyl
. Photo from Bay Clinic

    The task force is led by Dr. Kimo Alameda, of Bay Clinic, to bring widespread awareness and knowledge of the dangers of fentanyl. Mayor Mitch Roth said, "We're partnering with these health centers to help prevent overdose deaths in our community, The most powerful weapon against any epidemic is education, and we are committed to educating our residents so that they can make informed choices to keep themselves and their loved ones safe."
    Addiction medicine specialist Dr. Kevin Kunz said, "Fentanyl is the most addictive and potent opioid and the deadliest drug America has ever known. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, this synthetic opioid is 50 to 100 times stronger than any other opioid out there. It's more potent than cyanide." According to Kunz, data from CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that the leading
The one-time Heisman Trophy hopeful and University of
 Hawai'i U. Hawai'i football star Colt Brennan died
 last year with fentanyl in his blood.
cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 is
 overdose. One recent tragic death was that of 37-year-old former University of Hawaiʻi football star Colt Brennan, who was found to have a combination of ice, alcohol, and fentanyl in his system.
    Jane Clement, Mayor's Executive Assistant, said,  "We are planning to bring up-to-date information on the facts, prevention, and treatment to residents utilizing virtual and in-person presentations. Our local experts have organized a 30-minute presentation targeting all ages about the dangers of initiating drug use, addiction, and fentanyl poisoning." Anyone interested in an in-person viewing, contact Alameda at deskoftheceo@bayclinic.org. Seating is limited.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htmltml

KAʻŪ'S CONGRESSMAN KAI KAHELE SIGNED ON FOR FOR GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION LEGISLATION on Friday, following this week's killing of 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Texas. A letter from Kahele and colleagues says,
    "The time to act is now. The American people and President Biden are demanding that Congress act before more lives are needlessly lost to gun violence. We can and must continue to work in the House to tackle the gun violence crisis in this country even though we know that Senate Republicans will continue to use the filibuster to block any meaningful reforms. The fact is, there are numerous pieces of gun violence prevention legislation still pending in the House that have the support of the majority of Americans."
     The letter underscores the number of lives lost in recent years directly due to gun violence and highlights the mass shootings in New York and Texas that took place earlier this month: "More than 240,000 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence ... In the last two weeks alone, we've lost 31 innocent lives to mass shootings in Buffalo and now Texas." Kahele pointed out that on Wednesday night in Honolulu, a shooting near the Blaisdell Arena occurred.

The letter notes that next month will mark the six-year anniversary of the first sit-in on the US> House of Representatives floor to protest "the Republican majority's unwillingness to consider any gun safety measures following the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. At the time, we were in the minority and we had no other tool left at our disposal than to bring Congress to a grinding halt. Two years later, we won back the majority in the House with the promise to deliver on gun safety legislation and ever since we have had the votes to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation in the House."

    Among the proposals are H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to implement universal background checks and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Check Act to close the "Charleston loophole." The letter explains that "Republicans have used the filibuster to block those bills from even being considered by the Senate. Although the filibuster continues to be an enormous obstacle, we believe the House has an obligation to continue to bring up and pass gun violence prevention legislation."
    It states that from Uvalde to Buffalo to Parkland to Sandy Hook, "there isn't a city, town or neighborhood in this country that hasn't been impacted by gun violence. It is an epidemic in the United States, and a public health crisis. It's not just the mass shootings that are an issue, but also the day-to-day gun violence affecting people in cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, and Baltimore. Every day parents all across this country send their kids off to school or out to play, or drop them off at the mall or the movie theater, and fear that that might be the last time they see their child."
    The letter quotes Pres. Joe Biden's talk to the nation on Tuesday night, ".....these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God's name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies? It's time to turn this pain into action."
    The letter sates that the caucus working on gun law reform is often reminded of President Abraham Lincoln's famous quote, "with public sentiment, nothing can fail...without it nothing can succeed." The letter states that the majority of Americans are asking us, begging us, to do something about gun violence before more innocent lives are lost. We came here to take on the tough fights and let the chips fall where they may. We believe this is something worth fighting for, no matter the political consequences. We urge you to bring any gun violence prevention legislation when it has been approved by the Judiciary Committee to the House floor immediately for a vote."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htmltml