MCDANIEL ENCOURAGES PARTICIPATION IN NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK” DAY”

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September 23, 2010

LITTLE ROCK -- Attorney General Dustin McDaniel encouraged Arkansans today to safely and securely dispose their expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs during the first-ever national Prescription Drug "Take-Back" Day on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The Attorney General, along with the Office of the Drug Director and law enforcement and community agencies across the state, is participating in the national campaign led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Arkansans may dispose of prescription drugs or other medications at about 200 collection sites statewide. Law enforcement officials will be on hand at every site to ensure that the medications are properly collected and destroyed.

"Prescription drug abuse is a problem in Arkansas largely because abusers have such ready access to pills in the medicine cabinets of their relatives and friends," McDaniel said. "On Saturday, Arkansans have the opportunity to do their part in preventing abuse by ensuring their prescription drugs are safely destroyed and out of the hands of abusers."

Prescription drug abuse across the country is increasing rapidly. In Arkansas, the statistics are particularly alarming. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Arkansas leads the nation in the rate of teenagers who abuse prescription pain medications. About 22 percent of Arkansas high school seniors have abused prescription drugs. Most often, the drugs are taken from home medicine cabinets.

"We owe it to our kids and we owe it to our state to address this problem and one significant way we can do so is by participating in Saturday's event," McDaniel said.

The take-back initiative addresses environmental concerns, as well. Many Arkansans are unsure about how to properly dispose of unused drugs in an environmentally safe way, opting often to either throw away the drugs or flush them down the toilet - both ways pose safety and health hazards.

McDaniel will visit two collection sites in Fayetteville on Saturday to support the national campaign. The Attorney General will stop by the Washington County Sheriff's take-back event at the Washington County Sheriff's Office, 1155 Clydesdale Drive, and also the Fayetteville Police Department's site at the Evelyn Hills Shopping Center, 1572 N. College Ave.

Across Arkansas, sites will accept pills for disposal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The service is free and anonymous. A complete list of locations in Arkansas can be found on the Web at www.artakeback.org.

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