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.

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.

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 1stwith 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;2and; (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.

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)

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).