DEA National Drug Take Back Day collections successful in Arkansas despite rain

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Featured image: A truckload of collected medications from Independence County’s Drug Take Back Day.

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 27,575 pounds of medications and vape/e-cigarette pens, according to a release from the state of Arkansas. In Independence County, a post on the sheriff’s department’s Facebook account noted over 580 pounds of medications were locally collected on Saturday.

“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 go to ArTakeBack.org, click the Collection Sites tab, 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.

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.

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 groundwater. There’s also a danger of people and/or pets finding medications in the trash – The Animal Poison Control Center said 17.5 percent (34,888) of pet poisoning calls in 2017 were attributed to prescription medications.

Two-thirds of teenagers and young adults who report abuse of prescription medications say they get the majority of the medications from friends, family & acquaintances.

Image via Independence County Sheriff’s Department social media

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