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ARKANSAS DRUG TAKE BACK DAY: NINE YEARS LED TO 173 TONS OF MEDICATIONS COLLECTED

Since the summer of 2010, Arkansas has collected 173 tons of medications from Drug Take Back Day events. Although Arkansas is 33rd in population, the state ranks 3rd nationally in pounds collected per capita and 13th in total weight collected.

The 17th Drug Take Back Day, which was held on April 27, 2019, resulted in a total medications collection of 469 tons nationally, and 14.43 tons of that came from Arkansas. The state ranks 5th in the number of Drug Take Back Day collection sites with 310 and ranks 10th in the amount of law enforcement agencies participating in the semi-annual Drug Take Back Day with 184.

Arkansas has consistently led the four-state DEA region (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) accounting for 63% 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.

[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 17th Drug Take Back Day resulted in a total medications collection of 469 tons nationally and 14.43 tons in Arkansas. The grand total of all Drug Take Back Day events have resulted in 11,228 tons nationally and 173 tons in Arkansas.

STATISTICAL INFORMATION – National Comparison:

Including all 17 events:

Arkansas ranks #3 nationally in pounds collected per capita with 0.115 pounds per person, behind Maine with 0.285 pounds per person and Wisconsin with 0.122 pounds per person.1

Despite being just thirty-third in population among all states, Arkansas ranks #13 in total weight1

Arkansas ranked 10th in the amount of law enforcement agency participation with 184. Texas ranked 1st with 380 agencies. Washington D.C. ranked last with 1 agency. Nationally there were 5,015 agencies (average of 162 per state).2

Arkansas ranked 5th in the number of collection sites with 310. Texas ranked 1st with 380 and North Dakota was last with 3.

The 4-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi pooled a total weight of 46,459 pounds for the 17th Drug Take Back Day and 528,816 pounds for all 17 Drug Take Back Day events. Arkansas, despite being the least populated of the four: (1) Accounts for 52% of the total weight, collecting 165,310 pounds more than the other three states combined; (2) Averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined;2 and; (3) Accounts for 63% of the region’s total sites for Take Back 17.

For Take Back 17, only:

Arkansas ranks #13 nationally in weight collected (#1-#12: California, Texas, Wisconsin, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Maine, Florida, Massachusetts, & Virginia)

Ranks 5th per capita. Maine ranks #1, followed by New Hampshire, Vermont, & Wisconsin, respectively.

Ranks 5th in the number of participating Law Enforcement Agencies.

Ranks 5th in the number of registered collection sites.

1 Determined using 2017 census estimates.  2 Determined using data supplied by the National DEA.

STATISTICAL INFORMATION – Local Comparison: 3

 Weight Collected Per Law Enforcement Agency (Take Back 17, only):

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office ranked #1 with 3,960 pounds collected (14% of the state’s total)

Washington County Sheriff’s Office ranked #2 with 1307 pounds collected (4.5% of the state’s total)

Benton Police Department ranked #3 with 1,148 pounds collected (3.9% of the state’s total)

Baxter County Sheriff’s Office ranked #4 with 1110 pounds collected (3.8% of the state’s total)

North Little Rock Police Department ranked #5 with 976 pounds collected (3.3% of the state’s total)

The collection rate of this Take Back equaled 0.0088 lbs. per man, woman, and child in the state, or 8.8 pounds per 1,000 citizens, and, when compared to the population of each Judicial District, provided a baseline for collections. Judicial Districts who exceeded the baseline rate of 8.8 pounds per 1,000 citizens included the 4th Judicial District, 5th Judicial District, 6th Judicial District, 8th South Judicial District, 9th West Judicial District, 13th Judicial District, 14th Judicial District, 16th Judicial District, 18th East Judicial District, 20th Judicial District, 21st Judicial District, and the 22nd Judicial District.

3 Determined using data supplied by the Local DEA.