Attorney General Alerts

Prescription Drug Take Back Day

September 23, 2015

Nearly 44,000 people die from drug overdoses each year, with more than half of those because of abuse of prescription drugs. The National Institution on Drug Abuse reports that 62 percent of teens abuse prescription drugs because they are easy to obtain from their parent’s medicine cabinet, and prescription drugs are considered a gateway drug, with nearly half of heroin users reporting to have abused prescription drugs before beginning to use heroin.

Saturday is the 11th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Arkansas Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of the State Drug Director, along with 104 law enforcement agencies across the State, to coordinate local drop off events. Law enforcement officers will be available at 126 collection sites to collect and destroy pills in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Since the program began, 72 tons of medication has been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to encourage all Arkansans to participate and to inform them of the medications that will be accepted at the drug take-back events.

“It can be dangerous to keep unused prescription medication,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “These pills need to be properly disposed of to avoid them falling into the wrong hands and harming loved ones or the environment, which is why I encourage Arkansans to clean out their medicine cabinets and participate in Saturday’s Drug Take Back Day. Prescription Drug Take Back Day allows Arkansans to drop off any unwanted medications, no questions asked, for proper disposal.”

Attorney General Rutledge issued the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across the State on Saturday.

  • Opioids, such as OxyContin
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall
  • Depressants, such as Ativan
  • Other prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Pet medicines
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • Medicine samples

Medications may be returned in any container or removed from the original pill bottles for increased privacy.

Properly destroying these medications protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Many medicines are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems. Turning over these medications at the Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse. According to, more than 40 percent of teens who misused or abused prescription drugs got the medicine out of their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets.

The Prescription Drug Take Back event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. To find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, go to The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently announced that pharmacies will now be allowed to accept unused prescription medications.

For consumer-related questions, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit or

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