HPD officers fetching detainee prescriptions
Queen's stops offering medicine for arrestees, requiring officers to stand in line at Longs
Police officers are waiting for as long as one hour at the Pali Longs Drug Store to get prescription drugs for their detainees instead of patrolling the streets.
And it's not something the police want to do.
"It's very time-consuming," police Capt. Frank Fujii said. "We're taking officers off the road to fill prescriptions, and that's one less officer that could be out there."
Cops are buying the drugs because on March 15 the Queen's Medical Center stopped providing medication for arrestees.
Previously, officers would bring arrestees to Queen's if they required medication, and the center would provide the drugs.
Now, officers must receive the prescription from the medical center, drive back to the holding cells to drop the suspect off, then go to Longs on Pali Highway to wait for up to an hour for the medication to be filled.
The new Queen's policy also means the Police Department is paying for the drugs upfront.
For the first two weeks, the Police Department paid about $2,000 in medication, although it is too early to tell how much it will cost in the long run, Fujii said.
Fujii said officers arrest between 5,000 and 8,000 people every year who require medication.
When asked why the center stopped the practice, Queen's spokeswoman Rebecca Pollard said only that the center does not fill outpatient prescriptions for nonacute conditions.
"As emergency rooms are not outpatient pharmacies, the ER is not meant to serve as a dispensary for outpatient medication prescriptions," Pollard said.
Pollard said the center will still provide written prescriptions that may be filled at local pharmacies, and will still provide emergency care.
Fujii said the department is considering its options with the city corporation counsel, including asking for additional funding through legislation, or making an arrangement with another medical facility.
"This is still a brand-new situation, and the process is still evolving," Fujii said. "It's something we didn't expect would happen."