More than 26,000 pounds of prescription medications were collected during the Oct. 27, 2018, Arkansas Drug Take Back Day.
“The Prescription Drug Take Back days are an important piece of my collaborative approach to combatting the opioid crisis,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “By safely disposing of more than 26,000 pounds of old, expired or unused prescription medications we are ensuring these lethal drugs are kept off the streets and out of the hands of our friends and neighbors.”
DEA’s New Orleans Field Division (NOFD), which covers Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, collected 40,307 pounds—over 21 tons of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for disposal at collection sites throughout the division. The amounts collected for each state within the NOFD was the following: Louisiana – 3,615 pounds; Mississippi – 5,113 pounds; Alabama – 5,050 pounds; and Arkansas – 26,529 pounds.
“The people of the state of Arkansas should be proud of their efforts during the recent Drug Take Back which resulted in the collection and destruction of 26,529 pounds of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King. “Arkansas continues to lead other states in the region in the volume of drugs collected during Take Back, which is a testament to the outstanding efforts of everyone involved. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this critical event which makes our homes and communities safer, while raising awareness of the opioid epidemic threatening the people of Arkansas.”
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, and October 27, 2018.
[DISCLAIMER: **Collectively, there have been 17 total Arkansas prescription drug take back events: one local and 16 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. Altogether, the 16 Prescription drug take back events have produced the return of almost 160 tons of unneeded medications, estimated at 442.6 million pills.
Including all 16 events:
- Arkansas ranks #3 nationally in pounds collected per capita with 106 pounds per person, just barely behind Wisconsin with 0.112 pounds per person and Maine with 0.264 pounds per person.*
- Despite being just thirty-third in population among all states, Arkansas ranks #14 in total weight
- Arkansas averaged 68 more law enforcement agencies per event than the national
- Also, per event, Arkansas averaged 194 collection sites – the national average per state was 123 per
The four-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi pooled a total weight of 482,357 pounds for all 16 Take Arkansas, despite being the least populated of the four: accounts for 66% of the total weight, collecting 154,049 pounds more than the other three states combined; averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined; and, accounts for 50% of the region’s total sites for Take Back
For Take Back 16, only:
Arkansas ranks #13 nationally in weight collected, and ranks 5th per capita. Maine ranks #1, followed by Wisconsin, Vermont and New Hampshire,
Arkansas ranks 15th in the number of registered collection sites (168) and 9th in the number of participating law enforcement agencies (181) .
* Determined using 2017 census estimates.