Life’s Choices helps island with ‘Spring Cleaning’

LIHU‘E — Life’s Choices Kaua‘i, with help from the Boys & Girls Club of Lihu‘e, hosted a Spring Cleaning event Saturday at Ka Hale Maka‘i O Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Police Department headquarters.

April was Alcohol Awareness Month, so Theresa Koki, the Kaua‘i coordinator for Life’s Choices, said the idea is to mobilize the community to take action in stopping underage drinking by accepting a bottle of alcoholic beverage from someone who no longer had use for it.

In conjunction with the National Take Back Initiative, Drug Enforcement Administration personnel also accepted expired and unused prescription medications to prevent access to the medications by younger members of the household.

DEA Investigator Linda Martin said all of the accepted medications will be transported to O‘ahu and burned in the H-Power facility.

Accepted goods were boxed and sealed. More than five full cartons were accepted in the first two hours of the four-hour collection period.

“Everything will be secured at the police department until a DEA craft can be flown over to transport the medications back to O‘ahu,” Martin said. “We don’t bring back the medications on the plane.”

Kyana Yamaguchi, one of the students helping at the event, said they were distributing “Kapu,” stickers which adults place on coolers containing alcoholic beverages.

“This keeps the young people out of the coolers where alcoholic beverages are mixed with juice, or soda,” said Rochelle Cadiente of the Boys & Girls Club of Lihu‘e. “Actually, the best way is to keep the alcohol separate from the juice and soda, but if it’s mixed together, the sticker warns the kids about the alcohol.”

Koki said underage drinking is a big problem.

“In Hawai‘i, one out of 10 eighth-graders and more than one-third of 10th-graders report they have gotten drunk at least once,” Koki said in a county news release. “Can you imagine how this affects their developing brains and bodies? As a community, we have to work together to let our children know alcohol is very detrimental to their health and discourage them from using it.”

Koki said Life’s Choices will be hosting a teen health night on Friday at the Kukui Grove Center from 5 to 8 p.m. in front of The Jam Room.

“There will be several booths, including information on teen pregnancies, smoking cessation and others,” Koki said. “One of the consequences of underage drinking is teenage pregnancies, and we’re just getting that information out there.”

The Saturday Spring Cleaning event was a collaborative effort between the DEA, State Narcotics Enforcement Division, the state Department of the Attorney General and various county agencies including the Kaua‘i Police Department and Life’s Choices Kaua‘i.

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