Rutledge Adds Prescription Drug Take Back Boxes to Mobile Offices
January 27, 2016
BENTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today said that she is expanding the services offered at Attorney General Mobile Offices to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes. Constituents will continue to receive help with consumer-related issues in filing consumer complaints and be provided with information about scams, identity theft, fraud and other protections, but now Arkansans will be able to dispose of their expired and unused medications. Rutledge made the announcement at the Central Arkansas Development Council Senior Wellness and Activity Center in Benton and was joined by Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant, Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane and State Drug Director Denny Altes.
The mobile office is part of what the office is calling Rutledge Resources Days, which are days when staff visit a county and spend the entire day there – holding a mobile office, conducting Digital You presentations to various groups, including seniors, teens and parents and hosting parent/teacher child safety booths. Rutledge is partnering with local law enforcement agencies across the State to provide the Prescription Drug Take Back boxes.
Rutledge noted at the announcement that without any promotion of the service during the month of January, the office has already collected more than 70 pounds at seven mobile offices.
“The Drug Take Back program has proven to be an effective way of getting expired and unused prescriptions, which pose a serious danger, out of our medicine cabinets,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By providing Drug Take Back boxes at mobile offices, Arkansans will be provided with another collection site to properly dispose of these medications and protect their loved ones. This does not seek in any way to replace the boxes already available at local sheriffs’ offices, police stations or on Drug Take Back Days. Instead, this expands on my partnership with local law enforcement to get these drugs out of our homes and destroyed in a safe manner. I want to extend my appreciation to law enforcement for their commitment to the Drug Take Back program and for working with my office to offer this service to the citizens of Arkansas.”
“No community, big or small, is spared from the threat of prescription drug abuse,” said Col. Bill Bryant, director of the Arkansas State Police and former assistant special agent in charge of the Little Rock District Office for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “These expired or unused prescription drugs sitting in our homes and offices need to be properly disposed. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working as a team, in combination with civic organizations and businesses, are providing a secure method of destroying these unused prescription drugs in an environmentally safe manner. This also prevents these prescription drugs from being diverted to the streets for illegal sale and distribution.”
“The Arkansas Drug Take Back Program is an educational program to encourage all citizens to keep their households safe by practicing Secure, Monitor, and Dispose of their outdated, unused prescription medication,” said Kirk Lane, chief of the Benton Police Department. “The Arkansas Attorney General’s continued involvement with this program as a partner has been a key to its success. The General’s new collection opportunity will enhance efforts throughout the State and make accessibility to collection sites more available to every person. I applaud her and her staff, and encourage all Arkansas citizens to get involved and make this a safer State.”
“I applaud Attorney General Rutledge for her efforts to remove old and expired medications from our communities,” said Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, Arkansas Surgeon General. “These medications can find their way into the hands of children, and can contribute to unintended public health consequences. Thanks to General Rutledge and the other community leaders who are making this medication take back a reality.”
“Many teens report that they obtain prescription drugs from home medicine cabinets,” said Denny Altes, Arkansas State Drug Director. “This effort by the Attorney General is a great way to change that, and we encourage everyone to be proactive and take their unneeded medication to the Attorney General's or other take back events, and protect the people closest to them.”
“Prescription drug abuse in Arkansas is a serious threat to our children that we must address,” said Dr. John Kirtley, executive director of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. “There is an inherent misbelief that prescription drugs are safer than so called, ‘street’ drugs, when in fact they have the same risks for abuse, addiction and overdose. The best thing Arkansans can do with unused medications is dispose of them via Take Back programs, such as this new initiative being started by the General Rutledge. Prescription drugs that are disposed of in this manner will never be a threat to our children again.”
The Attorney General’s office has long been a partner in National Prescription Drug Take Back Days. The next nationwide take back event is scheduled for April 30. The Attorney General’s office also plans to host the fifth annual Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Summit this year.
Earlier this month in Searcy, Rutledge announced that she had adopted a new Internet safety program, Digital You. The program teaches seniors and older adults who are digital newcomers about tips and tricks to learn how to use mobile devices, navigate the Internet, recognize scams, keep private information secure, back up data and more so that they can be empowered online. Parents are given information about managing device usage, staying safe online, handling issues like cyberbullying and online reputation and protecting devices and information. And teenagers are taught how to safely and responsibly navigate their digital lives.
On Monday, Rutledge visited Alma Spikes Elementary School in Pocahontas to share with parents, teachers and administrators the resources the Attorney General’s office has to offer at new parent/teacher child safety booths. Child ID kits, ID bracelets, coloring books, stickers, teen cards, parent guides and other Internet safety materials are available at booths.
For information on mobile offices, the Drug Take Back program, parent/teacher child safety booths, Digital You or to find out the Rutledge Resource Day county schedule, please visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007.