The 10-year anniversary of the Arkansas Drug Take Back Day set a new record for prescription medications collected with nearly 20 tons for 2020. It moved Arkansas from number 13th nationally in 2019 to 7th nationally on October 24, 2020.
Arkansas has remained in the top 15 in the amount of medications collected since the first DEA National Drug Take Back Day event started on Sept. 25, 2010. Though the state is 33rd in population with slightly more than 3 million people, Arkansas ranks 2nd nationally in pounds collected per capita and 9th in total weight collected. On October 24, 2020, 38,960 pounds of medications was collected, which equals 19.48 tons. Since the first Arkansas Drug Take Back Day on September 25, 2010, a total of 413,457 pounds of medications have been collected, which equals 206.73 tons through 10 years. Nationally, to date, 13,684,848 pounds or 6,842.4 tons of medications has been collected.
Arkansas ranked 6th nationally in the amount of law enforcement agencies participating in the semi-annual Drug Take Back Day with 197 agencies, and ranked 21st in the number of Drug Take Back Day collection sites with 91 DEA registered locations (the statistic doesn’t include the 254 permanent drop box locations where many take back day events were held.)
Arkansas continues to lead the four-state DEA region (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) accounting for 65% of all the medications collected. Arkansas also averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined.
Arkansas Drug Take Back Day History
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), as part of its National Drug Control Strategy, called for an increase of prescription drug return and disposal programs as a means to curbing prescription drug abuse. In early 2010, a coalition led by the State Drug Director, the Attorney General, both Arkansas Districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and numerous federal, local, and state agencies, prevention professionals, and private organizations, launched an ongoing education program to encourage everyone to “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” their prescription medications.
As part of the “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” effort, the coalition organized Arkansas’s participation in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Take-Back Initiative, and take back events took place on September 25, 2010, April 30, 2011, October 29, 2011, April 28, 2012, September 29, 2012, April 27, 2013, October 26, 2013, April 26, 2014, and September 27, 2014. DEA announced the discontinuation of the national initiative in September 2014, but an Arkansas take back event under the leadership of partners within the state was held on April 25, 2015. DEA then reinstated the program nationally, and events since have been held on September 26, 2015, April 30, 2016, October 22, 2016, April 29, 2017, October 28, 2017, April 28,2018, October 27, 2018, April 27,2019, and October 26, 2019. [DISCLAIMER: **Collectively, there have been 18 total Arkansas Drug Take Back Day events, and 17 national events. Results from the State Take Back in Spring 2015 were rolled into the total results for National Take Back 10 held September 26, 2015.]
Due to the commitment, dedication, and effort of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Community, its partners, and the multi-agency coalition, and due to excellent participation by Arkansans in all areas of the state, the take back events have been successful above and beyond all expectations.
The 19th Drug Take Back Day resulted in a total medications collection of 985,392 pounds (492.7 tons) nationally and 19.48 tons in Arkansas. The grand total of all Drug Take Back Day events resulted in 13,684,848 pounds (6,842.4 tons) nationally, and 413,457 pounds (206.73 tons) in Arkansas.
STATISTICAL INFORMATION – National Comparison:
- Including all 19 events:
- Arkansas ranked #2 nationally in pounds collected per capita with 0.142 pounds per person. Maine ranked 1st with 0.31 pounds per person and Wisconsin ranked 3rd at 0.128 pounds per person.1
- Despite being thirty-third in population among all states, Arkansas ranked #9 in total weight1
- Arkansas ranked 7th in the amount of law enforcement agency participation with 197. Wisconsin ranked 1st with 270 agencies. Nationally, 4,153 law enforcement agencies participated.2
- Arkansas ranked 21st in the number of DEA registered collection sites (doesn’t include the 254 permanent drop box locations where many take back day events were held.) Wisconsin ranked 1st with 290 and Ohio ranked 2nd with 266.
- The four-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi pooled a total weight of 60,168 pounds for the 19th Drug Take Back Day and 629,848 pounds for all 19 Drug Take Back Day events. Arkansas, despite being the least populated of the four, accounted for 65% of the total weight and averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined.
For Take Back 19, only:
- Arkansas ranked #7 nationally in weight collected (Top 10: Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, respectively)
- Ranked 2nd per capita. Maine ranked #1.
- Ranked 7th in the number of Law Enforcement Agency participation.
1 Determined using 2017 census estimates.
2 Determined using data supplied by the National DEA.
STATISTICAL INFORMATION – Local Comparison
Weight Collected Per Law Enforcement Agency (Take Back 19 only):
- Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office ranked #1 with 1,861 pounds collected.
- Independence County Sheriff’s Office ranked #2 with 1,051 pounds collected.
- North Little Rock Department ranked #3 with 842 pounds collected.
- Baxter County Sheriff’s Office ranked #4 with 631 pounds collected.
- Benton Police Department ranked #5 with 490 pounds collected.