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Arkansas "Drug Take-Back Day" Set for Saturday

Experts say finding unused prescription drugs at a friend or relativesí house can turn curiosity into a deadly addiction. (stevepb/Pixabay)
Experts say finding unused prescription drugs at a friend or relativesí house can turn curiosity into a deadly addiction. (stevepb/Pixabay)

April 27, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Saturday is National Drug Take-Back Day, and across Arkansas, there will be hundreds of locations to drop off expired or unused medications.

Officials say keeping prescription drugs indefinitely in a medicine cabinet can be an invitation to abuse, and improperly disposing of them risks harming the environment and tainting the food supply. Scott Pace, CEO of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, an event sponsor, says his group became concerned over the growing opioid crisis in Arkansas.

"This is the first time that we can ever say that an accidental overdose has exceeded an accidental motor vehicle accident death rate, in Arkansas and across the country - and it's preventable,” says Pace. “And it's one of those things that we feel like we can be part of the solution, and we want to help facilitate that."

Arkansas Drug Take-Back Day is a twice-a-year event sponsored by 25 groups, including state agencies such as the Arkansas Department of Health, law enforcement, medical associations and environmental groups.

There will be more than 300 drug drop-off locations in every part of the state, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To find the one closest to you, look online at 'ARTakeBack.org.'

Pace says they strongly recommend against tossing out old prescription drugs, or flushing them down the toilet.

"There has been a decent amount of data over the years that have shown that when you flush medicine, that they ultimately end up back in the water supply,” says Pace. “So, it's not the safest way of disposing of those medications."

He warns that storing expired medications around the house can also be an invitation to trouble for children and others.

"We know that the very first place that people who try prescription drugs for the first time is not from a doctor, it's not from a pharmacist,” says Pace. “It's from their aunt or uncle, their mother, their father, their grandmother, grandfather – getting medications out of a medicine cabinet."

Officials say take-back sites will accept prescription drugs and other medicines in their original containers, but will not accept items such as needles, lancets or syringes, thermometers, aerosol cans, empty containers, or anything containing blood or potentially infectious waste.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR