The Baxter County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) participated in the ‘National Take-Back Day' Saturday, September 25. The event was a national effort to involve state and local agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation's medicine cabinets. The National Take-Back Day provided an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to children and to public health and safety. This one day national effort was intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse. (click 'HERE' for audio)
The event was a huge success for Baxter County. (Click 'HERE' for audio) The Baxter County Sheriff's Office collected 44,113 pills during the National Take-Back Day. This was a follow up to Baxter County's successful ‘Operation Drop Off' that was held July 24th in which 119,192 pills were collected. This makes the totals for these two events, held approximately 60 days apart, to be 163,305 pills that now have been potentially removed from youth and kept out of our waterways.
Lt. Terry Johnson and Investigator Brad Lewis spearheaded the event. They reported a very positive repsonse from the public. Several prescriptions were turned in that were dated more than 30 years ago. The oldest prescription taken in was a prescription for pain that was filled November 25, 1963.
Research has shown that Arkansas has the worst teen prescription pain reliever abuse problem in the entire United States. Arkansas has consistently ranked among the top ten states with the highest rate of non-medical use of pain relievers by 12 to 22 year old persons since 2002. Arkansas' sixth graders have been shown to abuse prescription drugs more than any other substances except alcohol and cigarettes. Many of those children between 12 to 17 years of age reported they obtained prescription pain relievers and stimulants from friends or relatives 71% of the time, often stolen from medicine cabinets. It is vitally important for the safety of our youth that unused and unneeded prescription medications be properly disposed of.
In the past, flushing medications and drugs seemed to be a safe and responsible method of disposal. We now realize that the drugs do not completely disintegrate and are contaminating our waterways. Wastewater treatment plants and septic systems are not generally designed to treat pharmaceutical waste. The risk to the health of our waters is significant when we contribute to pollution by what we pour down our drains. This ends up in our creeks, rivers, and lakes, and it places our drinking water supply at unnecessary risk.
The Sheriff's Office has permanently installed a secure drop-off lock box at this location. This was donated to the Sheriff's Office by the Baxter County Library. The drop box is clearly identified and is under 24 hour recorded video surveillance for security purposes. The drop box is available for use by citizens of Baxter County at their convenience. This will give the citizens easy access for disposal of medications at any time. (click 'HERE' for audio)
The drop box is to be used for depositing pills, medicines, and similar pharmaceuticals and controlled substances only. We ask that sharps (such as syringes), medical waste (such as oxygen masks and intravenous tubing and connections) and intravenous solutions not be placed in this drop box.
All pills and pharmaceuticals collected will subsequently be destroyed by using the new drug incinerator equipment that was purchased through a donation from Roller Funeral Home. Persons are encouraged to utilize this responsible method for disposing of their unused and unneeded medications. Anyone having questions may contact the Sheriff's Office for information at 870-425-7000.
Sheriff John Montgomery