Over 24,000 Pounds of Medication Collected at April Prescription Drug Take Back Day
May 3, 2017
State Attorney General, DEA, FBI, Benton Police Department and other participating agencies announce
LITTLE ROCK – It was announced this morning by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Matt Barden, who was joined by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, FBI Little Rock Field Office Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch, Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane and other participating agencies, that 24,483 pounds of medication was collected as part of the semi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back held on Saturday, April 29. This exceeds the amount collected in October 2016 by 1,000 pounds.
Rutledge also announced this morning that early bird registration is now available for the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit at ArkansasAG.gov. The summit, which was attended last year by more than 700 law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators, gives an opportunity to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment. This year the summit will be held in Hot Springs on November 9. A full agenda will be announced at a later date.
“By getting more than 24,000 pounds of old, expired prescription medications out of our homes, Arkansans are helping save countless lives,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Studies show that drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. with opioid additions driving this epidemic. I appreciate all of the partnering agencies who helped make Prescription Drug Take Back Day a success as we continue to fight this growing threat.”
“Prescription drug abuse has become the nation’s fastest growing drug epidemic, with almost 4 million Americans addicted to prescription painkillers,” said Agent Barden. “Unfortunately, these prescription drugs are most often obtained from friends and family, who leave them in home medicine cabinets. The DEA’s and State of Arkansas’s Take-Back initiative provides citizens an easy and safe way to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. I appeal to the citizens of Arkansas to please do your part to keep prescription drugs off the streets and help end this national epidemic.”
“I appreciate the partnership with the Attorney General's Office, the DEA and other supporters involved in this year’s successful Take Back Initiative,” said Agent Upchurch. “Improper disposal can have a devastating effect on our families and communities, as well as our environment. By taking back 24,000 pounds of prescription drugs, we've taken a step to save the lives of innocent children who accidentally use prescription drugs and the lives of those who abuse prescription drugs.”
“Drug Take Back Day is about educating communities to utilize the method of ‘Secure, Monitor, Dispose’ with their prescription drugs,” said Chief Lane. “It is a major tool in reducing deaths from prescription drug abuse and misuse, as we know that 70 percent of prescriptions that are abused come from our homes. Great partnerships in this effort are a key part of its success, but there is much more work to do. It will take all of us working together to make the difference, and the difference will save lives.”
Semi-annually a Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.