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State briefs for September 8

Woman bitten by shark while snorkeling on BI

A 70-year-old woman was listed in stable condition after being bitten by a shark Sunday while snorkeling on the Big Island.

The attack occurred as the woman was snorkeling in about 10 feet of water off Puako by Kapuniau Point, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department. An 8-foot shark bit the woman on her left ankle, but she was able to make it shore on her own where an off-duty Ocean Safety employee helped control the bleeding until EMS arrived, HFD said.

She was transported by EMS in stable condition.

Firefighters conducted an aerial search of the coastline via helicopter but were unable to find the shark.

Federal funds
to help state battle drugs

LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — Hawaii is expected to receive more than $4 million in new federal funding to help respond to methamphetamine and opioid abuse.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced the receipt of a grant that expanded its funding for the first time to address stimulants including meth.

The grant previously could be used only for responses to the opioid epidemic.

The grant is issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant will help pay for prevention, treatment and recovery support services, Schatz said in a statement.

“Meth misuse and addiction has been a serious problem in Hawaii for decades, but recently the meth-related death rate has skyrocketed,” said Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The grant “will help us put critical resources towards saving lives and combating this crisis,” Schatz said.

The increased flexibility in the grant came after Schatz issued a call in December 2019 for more federal resources to respond to the use of meth, he said.

Federal intervention in Hawaii communities facing escalating problems of meth would “help to reduce the number of deaths and serious harm from misuse and addiction,” Schatz said at the time.

Hawaii had 6.8 meth-related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2016, nearly three times the national rate of 2.4 deaths per 100,000 people.

The number of deaths on the islands related to meth have surpassed deaths stemming from opioids in each of the past five years, Schatz’s office said.

Panel: Neck restraint should be labeled
deadly force

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu Police Department committee said a neck restraint should be designated as a “deadly force” option in the department’s use-of-force policy.

Honolulu Police Commission member Richard Parry said the department’s Use of Force Committee favors moving vascular neck restraint to the same category that includes the use of firearms.

The police department lists the restraint in the “intermediate” use-of-force category, which includes the use of batons.

The department suspended the use of the vascular neck restraint in June while reviewing its use-of-force policy in response to the killing of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground. His death prompted protests across the U.S. and around the world against police brutality and racial injustice.

Parry said two other significant changes to the use-of-force policy recommended by the committee would require officers to intervene if they see other officers “doing something inappropriate” and to “de-escalate use-of-force situations whenever possible.”
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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