About Take Back – Arkansas Takeback

About Take Back

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. About the same time, the Benton Police Department started a program called “Operation Medicine Cabinet” in the spring of 2010,  after Russell Goodwin, owner of a local monument company and youth baseball coach, told then Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane that he was “tired of making headstones for children” due to the abuse of prescription drugs. Benton officers gathered data that showed there was a problem with abuse and misuse of prescription drugs by youth, including information from the Saline County Coroner’s Office which showed that 30 people died in 2009 as a result of prescription drug abuse.

More than 146 pounds of prescription medications were collected at the first Operation Medicine Cabinet in Benton and the program and education to the public continued in growth. In 2010, a coalition led by then, State Drug Director Fran Flener, launched an on-going educational program to encourage everyone to “Monitor, Secure and Dispose” of their prescription medications. The also launched this website www.artakeback.org with an emphasis on educating and encouraging everyone to “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” their prescription medications.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration launched the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on September 25, 2010 in response to an epidemic of controlled prescription drug (CPD) abuse in the United States and it is held semi-annually.  Arkansas supports this with core partners from the Arkansas Governor’s Office, Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas State Police, Office of Arkansas Drug Director along with more than 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, numerous community organizations, businesses, media outlets, and public health providers. The Office of the Arkansas Drug Director works closely with the DEA in the coordination of this growing coalition, and in maintaining the Artakeback.org website.

One key to its success is the ability to have permanent collection boxes located at key locations throughout Arkansas communities. This allows the public to dispose of their unwanted medications throughout the year. Currently, Arkansas has more than 225 of permanent collection boxes, with at least one in every county in Arkansas.  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.

%

Of Prescription Drug Addictions Start in Teenage Years

Lives saved from Arkansas Naloxone Project

National Comparison (all Drug Take Back Day events):

Arkansas ranks #3 nationally in pounds collected per capita with 0.147 pounds per person. Maine ranks #1 with 0.352 pounds per person and Wisconsin ranks #2 at 0.149 pounds per person.1

Arkansas is 34th in population and ranks #12 in total weight collected with 442,162 pounds (221 tons).1

The four-state DEA region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi has a total weight of 675,451 pounds for all 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.

Drug Take Back Day event #21 only (April 27, 2021):

Arkansas ranks #9 nationally in weight collected (Top 10: Texas, Wisconsin, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri, respectively)

Arkansas ranks #5 per capita (Top 10: Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Delaware, Alaska, and Missouri, respectively)

Arkansas ranks #6 in the number of law enforcement agencies participation.

Arkansas ranks #16 in the number of collection sites (the DEA statistic doesn’t include the 270 permanent drop box locations where many Drug Take Back Day events were held.)

1 Determined using 2020 census estimates.  2 Determined using data supplied by the National DEA.

Weight Collected Per Law Enforcement Agency (Drug Take Back Day #21 only):

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office ranks #1 with 3,510 pounds collected.

Garland County Sheriff’s Office ranks #2 with 2,000 pounds collected.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office ranks #3 with 1,436 pounds collected.

Benton Police Department ranks #4 with 1,112 pounds collected.

North Little Rock Police Department ranks #5 with 892 pounds collected.

Honorable mention: Gentry Police Department ranks #6 with 831 pounds collected.

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.

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.

Arkansans continue to entrust in the DEA Drug Take Back Day program leading the state to another top 10 completion in multiple categories nationally, including ranking third in grand total pounds per person. The state ranks fifth nationally in pounds per person for the Drug Take Back Day on April 24, 2021, but in the total of all 21 Drug Take Back Day events, the state ranks third in pounds per person, behind first place Maine and second place Wisconsin.

Arkansas ranks fifth in the amount of law enforcement agencies (207) who participated in the April 24, 2021, Drug Take Back Day, an increase from 197 and sixth rank during the October 24, 2020, Drug Take Back Day event. The state ranks 15th in the number of collection sites (131) for the April 24, 2021, Drug Take Back Day, an increase of five spots from the 20th rank during the October 2020 Drug Take Back Day, which the DEA totaled 91 sites (the DEA statistic doesn’t include the 270 permanent drop box locations where many Drug Take Back Day events were held.)

Arkansas totaled 28,705 pounds (14.35 tons) of mediations collected from the April 24, 2021, Drug Take Back Day, which is 9th nationally. In all 21 Drug Take Back events dating back to September 25, 2010, Arkansas has collected 442,162 pounds (221 tons) and consecutively ranks in the top 15 in numerous Drug Take Back Day event categories, despite ranking 34th in U.S. population (based on the 2020 U.S. Census).

Nationally, the U.S. collected 839,543 pounds (420 tons) of medications on April 24, 2021. Since 2010, the DEA Drug Take Back Day program has collected 14,524,391 pounds (7,262 tons) of medications. A total of 4,425 law enforcement agencies participated nationally in the April 24, 2021, Drug Take Back Day and there were 5,060 collection sites nationwide, according to the DEA.

Arkansas continues to lead the four-state DEA region (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) accounting for 63% of medications collected during the April 24, 2021, Drug Take Back Day and 65% total of all 21 Drug Take Back Day events. Arkansas also averages more participating law enforcement agencies than the other three states combined.

All medications collected are destroyed at environmentally safe facilities across the United States. Prescription medicines are toxic waste and pose a danger to people, pets, and the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Medicines flushed or poured down the drain ends up in the waterways, affecting our drinking water. More than half of the 444 reported drug overdose deaths in Arkansas in 2018 involved opioid medications and more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2019. Always monitor and secure all medications, and when they are ready to be disposed of, do so in an environmentally safe method by taking them to any of the 270 permanent drop box locations in Arkansas.

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.

Opioid Prescriptions in Arkansas (2018)

Overall Lives Saved by the Arkansas Naloxone Project

County Statistics

County Saves County Saves 
Baxter 9 Johnson 5
Benton 5 Lonoke 26
Boone 2 Marion 1
Clark 1 Miller 5
Conway 1 Montgomery 1
Craighead 28 Ouachita 1
Crawford 7 Pike 2
Crittenden 10 Poinsett 4
Drew 1 Pope 3
Faulkner 24 Pulaski 246
Franklin 2 Saline 30
Fulton 1 Scott 2
Garland 30 Sebastian 5
Greene 5 Sharp 3
Independence 12 Van Buren 1
Izard 1 Washington 22
Jefferson 8 White 1
    Yell 1