7 arrested in opioid crackdown on Hawaii health care providers
  • Sunday, May 19, 2019
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7 arrested in opioid crackdown on Hawaii health care providers

  • Video by George F. Lee / glee@staradvertiser.com

    Feds announced Thursday an opioid crackdown of health care providers in Hawaii.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price spoke during a news conference today regarding an ongoing campaign against opioid trafficking.

  • GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

    John W. Callery, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s Honolulu field office, spoke during a press conference today regarding an ongoing campaign against opioid trafficking.

Federal and local law enforcement officials today announced they executed five search warrants and made seven arrests in Hawaii as part of a three-state crackdown on illicit and illegal drugs distributed by health care professionals.

The drugs involved included oxycodone and hydrocodone.

John Callery, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Honolulu field office, said that more arrests of Hawaii doctors, nurses and physician’s assistants are likely in the weeks ahead as part of the year-old “Operation Hypocritical Oath” that was based out of Los Angeles and spread to Nevada and Hawaii as part of the nation-wide crackdown on the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“This certainly isn’t the culmination of this,” Callery said.

Earlier today, law enforcement officials in Los Angeles held a similar news conference to announce that 42 health care providers had been implicated in Los Angeles as part of “Operation Hypocritical Oath.”

“Although our nation is in crisis, we here in Hawaii are not in crisis mode at this time, but we certainly have an opioid addiction issue that the DEA Honolulu district office and our outstanding partners are battling on your behalf every day,” Callery said.

Callery estimated that 99.5 percent of Hawaii’s health care professionals are distributing drugs properly.

But even 0.5 percent who may be operating illegally could cause significant problems for a small state like Hawaii, Callery said.

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly attributed John Callery’s statement about fighting opioid addiction in Hawaii to Kenji Price, the U.S. Attorney for Hawaii.
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