WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) marked National Prescription Drug Take Back Day with the Benton Police Department as it leads efforts to break the cycle of addiction by collecting unneeded and unused prescription medications in “Operation Medicine Cabinet XII.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas is one of 12 states with more painkiller prescriptions than people. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country, one that CDC classifies as an epidemic.
“We have a responsibility to get expired and unwanted prescription drugs out of our homes to prevent pills from getting in the hands of abusers and stop the cycle of addiction. The efforts of the Benton Police Department’s program and Arkansas Take Back are making a difference,” Boozman said.
“People don’t understand how dangerous and addicting opioids can be. A lot of people become addicted very innocently, if they’re going through some pain trauma and they get involved in this and can’t find a way back,” Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane said. “I appreciate Senator Boozman’s leadership and his support as we fight this epidemic.”
After responding to incidents that occurred as a result of teenage prescription drug abuse, in 2010 the Benton Police Department started a drug education program and launched efforts to collect unused prescription drugs.
Across the state, Arkansas Take Back is decreasing the availability of unnecessary prescription drugs by properly disposing of expired and unneeded medication. More than 100 collection sites across the state took old and unneeded prescription drugs on Saturday. The Benton Police Department collected 1,245 pounds at its drop off sites.
Boozman shared with law enforcement officials and other Arkansans his efforts to combat prescription drug abuse.
“The Senate recently passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) with my support. This legislation provides a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue proven strategies to combat addiction and support individuals in recovery. This bill can help give communities the ability to combat the growing opioid epidemic in Arkansas and across the country,” Boozman said.
Drug take-back programs are an important tool to breaking the cycle of addiction for our veterans and all prescription drug abusers. That’s why Boozman helped push the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to establish drug take-back programs in coordination with the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA by expanding prescription drug disposal programs to allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and others to serve as drop-off sites to collect unused or unwanted prescription drugs.