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Kokua Line

State program to help get rid of leftover prescription drugs


QUESTION: My late husband had a lot of prescription drugs left over when he died. Some of them are controlled substances. No one seems to know what I should do with them. I called the Department of Health and even they didn’t know what I should do. I thought we weren’t supposed to put them down the toilet or in the trash. I took them to Longs but they can’t take them back.

ANSWER: The successful Hawaii Drug Take-Back Program, offered for the first time last year, will be held again in April.

The state Department of Public Safety’s Narcotics Enforcement Division and state Attorney General’s Office will be sponsoring another prescription drug collection program at that time.

Keith Kamita, deputy director of law enforcement for the Public Safety Department, suggests people hold on to their unwanted prescription medication until then.

Information on location and times will be forthcoming.

The drug take-back program allowed residents to turn in unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs at various collection sites statewide, for free and no questions asked.

The drugs were incinerated, following state and federal guidelines.

If you can’t take the unwanted drugs to a collection site or return to a pharmacy, both the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest disposing of them in the household trash following these steps:

1) Remove them from their original containers.

2) Mix the drugs with anything "undesirable," such as cat litter or used coffee grounds.

3) Put the mixture into a disposable lidded container, such as an empty margarine tub, or a sealable bag.

You also are advised to conceal or remove any personal information, including prescription numbers.

The FDA says some drugs should be flushed down the toilet; follow specific instructions in those cases.

For more information, go to the FDA’s website,

QUESTION: Who do I contact to ask that my general excise tax form booklet be mailed to me?

QUESTION: I beg to differ with the representative from the state Department of Taxation’s Tax Services on sending booklets to those who request them (Kokua Line, Feb. 23). I have not received my transient accommodations tax and general excise tax booklets. What do I do?

ANSWER: In both cases, you can call the state Department of Taxation at 587-4242 or 800-222-3229.

Regarding not yet receiving requested booklets: Booklets are sent based on the taxpayer’s filing frequency, according to a department spokeswoman.

In the case of the GET, for example, taxpayers who file quarterly should be receiving requested booklets in March, while those who file semiannually should be getting theirs in June.


The number to call to see if IRS tax forms are available at the Kaneohe Library is 233-5674. Another number was given in the Feb. 23 Kokua Line.


To the person who did not return the blue sapphire earrings I purchased for my wife’s Christmas present. I accidentally left them in the cart at Sam’s Club in Pearl City. The gift receipt was in the bag, and the store manager and jewelry manager can give them back to me if you return them! — Steve H.

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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