Undeterred by the rainy-cold weather across the state last Saturday, Arkansans made for another successful Arkansas Drug Take Back Day. Within hours, 141 law enforcement agencies collected 27,605 pounds of medications and vape/e-cigarette pens.
“We are grateful that even though many other events were happening and despite the cold and rain, a lot of people still drove out to Take Back Day locations all over the state,” said Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane. “Getting all those unneeded and expired medications out of medicine cabinets, or anywhere they are stored in the home, to a Take Back Day event site ultimately will save lives by keeping them out of the hands of those who will misuse them. This program also keeps them out of the water supply, as we’ll have them destroyed in an environmentally safe method at a local facility.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Justin King added, “The success of the recent DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day shows the need for this initiative as a tool in the fight against the opioid crisis. The DEA is committed to preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths in the U.S. and we would like to thank the citizens of Arkansas for helping to make a difference and keep our communities safe. We would also like to thank the state agencies, medical community, and law enforcement who participated in the event.”
The 141 law enforcement agencies were joined by a multitude of volunteers (including pharmacists, pharmacy students, physicians, local leaders, etc.) at 195 event day locations throughout the state. For anyone who missed the Arkansas Drug Take Back Day with medications to dispose of, there are more than 225 permanent and secure drop box locations in the state, and many are available 24-hours. To find a location click the Collection Sites tab on this website, type in the zip code, choose a distance and hit the filter tab. Each permanent drop box is designated to be emptied on a daily basis by law enforcement officers.
Locations can also be found through the NARCANsas app, a free opioid overdose resource containing tools that will help you administer the drug naloxone in the moment of an opioid overdose and provide steps on how to save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose. The app also provides links to treatment centers, prevention information, recovery centers, and more.
Of the 141 law enforcement agencies, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office collected the largest amount at 3,752 pounds. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office was second after they collected 1,496 pounds. The Benton Police Department came in third with 1,065 pounds collected.
All the medications collected during the 18th Arkansas Drug Take Back Day, as were previous events, were transported via the Arkansas National Guard to a facility for environmentally safe destruction.
Did you know? In Arkansas, there were 379 drug overdose deaths in 2016, which increased to 416 drug overdose deaths in 2017 and increased to 426 in 2018. Arkansas ranks second in the nation for per capita opioid prescriptions, at 102.1 per 100 residents; the national average is 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons. In nearly a decade (since 2000) deaths involving opioids has increased by 200% in the U.S.
Prescription medicines are a toxic waste & pose a danger to people, pets, & the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Medicines flushed or poured down the drain end up in the waterways, affecting our drinking water.
Throwing medications in the trash, even if they are mixed with materials such as kitty litter or coffee grounds, will still make it to a landfill and seep through the soil and into ground water. There’s also a danger of people and/or pets finding medications in the trash – The Animal Poison Control Center said 17.5% (34,888) of pet poisoning calls in 2017 were attributed to prescription medications.
Two-thirds of teenagers & young adults who report abuse of prescription medications say they get the majority of the medications from friends, family & acquaintances.
- DON’T leave medication bottles or pill cases lying around
- DON’T store medicines in an unsecured medicine cabinet or bathroom drawer
- DON’T ignore warning signs (Ex: bottles tampered with, pills missing or drugged behavior of someone in your home)
- DO lock up medications in a lock box or hide them in a safe place
- DO keep track of medications – count pills, make marks on liquid containers
- DO keep track of refills – refilling medicine more often than expected can indicate a problem
- DO encourage relatives, friends & neighbors to monitor medications & participate in the Arkansas Drug Take Back Day.
The nARcansas app was created in a partnership with the Office of Arkansas Drug Director, Criminal Justice Institute, Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services and Team Si. Naloxone is available for purchase by the public at some pharmacies throughout Arkansas.