Nearly 146 tons of prescription medications have been collected in the state since the first Arkansas Prescription Drug Take Back Day in 2010! Starting off 2018 with a bang, Arkansans donated more than 28 thousand pounds of medications on April 28!
Justin King, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA-Little Rock District Office, said that, “Altogether, the 15 Prescription drug take back events have produced the return of almost 146 tons of unneeded medications, estimated at 406.2 million pills. Due to the commitment, dedication, and effort of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Community, its partners, and the multi-agency coalition, and due to excellent participation by Arkansans in all areas of the state, the take back events have been successful above and beyond all expectations.”
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), as part of its National Drug Control Strategy, called for an increase of prescription drug return and disposal programs as a means to curbing prescription drug abuse. In early 2010, a coalition led by the State Drug Director, the Attorney General, both Arkansas Districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and numerous federal, local, and state agencies, prevention professionals, and private organizations, launched an ongoing education program to encourage everyone to “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” their prescription medications.
As part of the “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” effort, the coalition organized Arkansas’s participation in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Take-Back Initiative, and take back events took place on September 25, 2010, April 30, 2011, October 29, 2011, April 28, 2012, September 29, 2012, April 27, 2013, October 26, 2013, April 26, 2014, and September 27, 2014. DEA announced the discontinuation of the national initiative in September 2014, but an Arkansas take back event under the leadership of partners within the state was held on April 25, 2015. DEA then reinstated the program nationally, and events since have been held on September 26, 2015, April 30, 2016, October 22, 2016, April 29, 2017, October 28, 2017, and April 28,2018. DISCLAIMER: **Collectively, there have been 16 total Arkansas prescription drug take back events: one local and 15 national events. Results from the State Take Back in Spring 2015 were rolled into the total results for National Take Back 10 held September 26, 2015.
Including all 15 events:
* Arkansas ranks #3 nationally in pounds collected per capita with 0.097 pounds per person, just barely behind Wisconsin with 0.101 pounds per person and Maine with 0.244 pounds per person. (Determined using 2017 census estimates)
* Despite being just thirty-third in population among all states, Arkansas ranks #13 in total weight collected.
* Arkansas averaged 62 more law enforcement agencies per event than the national average.
* Also, per event, Arkansas averaged 182 collection sites – the national average per state was 116 per event.
* The four-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi pooled a total weight of 442,050 pounds for all 15 Take Backs. Arkansas, despite being the least populated of the four:
1. Accounts for 66% of the total weight, collecting 141,298 pounds more than the other three states combined;
2. Averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined; and,
3. Accounts for 52% of the region’s total sites for Take Back 15.
For Take Back 15, only:
* Arkansas ranks #13 nationally in weight collected.
* Per capita, Arkansas continues to rank 5th in weight collected. Maine ranks #1, followed by New Hampshire,Wisconsin and Vermont, respectively.
* Arkansas ranks 10th in the number of registered collection sites and 9th in the number of participating law enforcement agencies.
* Per capita, Arkansas ranks 4th in registered collection sites and 3rd in participating law enforcement agencies.