By the time Arkansas high school students have reached their senior year, 16% have abused prescription drugs. And 7% of our high school seniors have reported non-medical use of prescription drugs in the past 30 days.
Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Over half of teens report that getting prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinet is easy.
About one-third of medicines sold go unused.
Storing unwanted or expired medicines in our homes contributes to the epidemic of medicine abuse and accidental poisonings.
You can help decrease the supply of those drugs by participating in the next Arkansas Take Back Day scheduled for April 26.
Take-Back Days are presently needed because the Controlled Substances Act as originally written didn’t provide a way for patients, caregivers, and pet owners to dispose of such controlled substance medications such as painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants like ADHD drugs. People were flushing their old meds down the toilet or throwing them in the trash, but in recent years medicines have been found in the nation’s water supplies, and medications were being retrieved from the trash by those who would abuse or sell them.
The Arkansas Drug Director’s Office along with Arkansas State Police and assistance from local law enforcement agencies began the Take Back Program in 2010. Over 115 million pills, 41 tons, have been collected in our state so far. There are signs the program is working. In the past few years, results from the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Student Survey show that prescription drug abuse by Arkansas students has dropped each year, in each grade, and in each category measured. Disposing of unused or unneeded medications is an easy way to help that number to continue to decline.
There will be over 170 collection sites across the state offering a secure way to dispose of your prescription drugs from 10am to 2pm on April 26. Every community will have a take back site close-by. To find the one nearest you and to learn more about this effort visit www.artakeback.org