About Take Back

Saving Lives: Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Twice a year (through partnerships with Rotary Clubs, Prevention Resource Centers, the Department of Health and the DEA) Arkansas law-enforcement agencies host Arkansas Prescription Drug Take Back Day events at various locations throughout the state. These Drug Take Back events not only to get the public to dispose of unused or expired medications, it is an opportunity to further educate the public on numerous topics concerning the Opioid Epidemic (198 people die a day from opioid-related drug overdoses) and the importance of proper disposal of medications. There are more than 200 medical drop-box locations throughout the state, including the majority of law enforcement agencies. Visit our Collection Sites section to find a location near you.

Lives Saved from Arkansas 1st Responders Naloxone Program

Nearly 80% of heroin users reported misusing prescription opioids prior to heroin. In a 2014 survey by the Center94% of respondents in a 2014 CDC survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were ‘far more expensive and harder to obtain.’”

Drug overdose deaths involving heroin continued to climb sharply, with heroin overdoses more than tripling in 4 years.

Another reason to properly dispose of medications is for environmental safety. Click here for more information.

Arkansas is 2nd nationally for over-prescribing opioids at 114.6 prescriptions per 100 people (the national average is 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people)

Arkansas ranks 3rd 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. *(Determined using 2017 census estimates)

Despite being just 33rd in population among all states, Arkansas ranks 14th in total weight collected.

Arkansas averaged 68 more law enforcement agencies per Take Back Day event than the national average. Arkansas averaged 194 collection sites – the national average per state was 123 per event.

The 4-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana & Mississippi had a total weight of 482,357 pounds for all 16 Take Back Days. Arkansas, despite being the least populated of the 4: (1) Accounts for 66% of the total weight, collecting 154,049 pounds more than the other 3 states combined; (2) Averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other 3 states combined; & (3) Accounts for 50% of the region’s total sites for Take Back Day.

42% the percent of teenagers who have abused or misused a prescription drug & admitted to obtaining them from their home.

64% of teenagers (age 12-17) who have abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives.

2/3 of all prescription drugs illegally obtained are taken from people’s homes → not from pharmacies or off the street.

“At the age of 18, my daughter knew 4 people who lost their lives due to the influence of prescription drugs,” U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) said. “This is a serious problem that deserves more of our attention. Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in Arkansas & throughout our country.”

“Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled,” U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) said. “Arkansas Take Back is responsible for removing more than 72 tons of unneeded medication, estimated at 201 million pills from Arkansas homes. Help reduce the risk of developing addictions to prescription drugs by participating.”

Education is the key to helping us make a difference in our community. We can further reduce the lives this crisis destroys by simply educating those around us & by taking time to secure & dispose of old medications.


Of Prescription Drug Addictions Start in Teenage Years

Opioids Dispensed in Arkansas in 2016

What Medicines Can You Take Back?

Allowed: prescription medicines; over the counter medicines; vitamins; pet medicines; medicated ointments and lotions; inhalers; liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces); and medicine samples.

Not-Allowed: needles, lancets, or syringes; thermometers; aerosol cans; empty containers; bloody or infectious waste; personal care products (i.e., non-medicated shampoo); hydrogen peroxide; and business waste. For advice on the safe disposal of these items, contact your pharmacist or local Health Department. You may also call 1-800-RECYCLE (1-800-732-9235).