The issue of prescription drug abuse and misuse has been a problem of great concern for the Benton Police Department (BNPD) for a number of years.  Due to the injuries and deaths that have occurred as a result, the BNPD decided six years ago to launch the first prescription drug take back event.  The take back events have been a great success, taking in over 3.5 tons of old medicine just in Saline County alone, which helped segue into the passage of the first Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) bill two years ago.  
The PDMP has been extremely helpful in diverting medicine out of the hands of those that would attempt to “doctor shop” and work the system to obtain countless prescriptions for opioids (pain killers).  It was discovered there was a missing link in the PDMP with law enforcement not being able to obtain vital information needed to charge and arrest those involved in prescription fraud operations.  
Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane was part of a group that was instrumental in working with legislators recently to achieve an amendment to the PDMP that allows certain law enforcement investigators access to the prescription drug monitoring program to enhance investigative capability.  The bill, now known as Act 901 of 2015, grants law enforcement investigators limited access to the PDMP data for investigative purposes related to the abuse of prescription drugs.  
Language for the bill, including safe guards, was finally agreed upon and the bill was signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on 4/11/15.  Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee, led the effort in the Senate while Representative Marshall Wright (Forrest City), along with Saline County Rep. Kim Hammer and Rep. Lanny Fite, assisted with passage in the House.  Governor’s Aide Josh Curtis, from Benton, coordinated the movement of the bill in the Governor’s Office.  
In addition to the BNPD, there were many others involved in the successful passage of this bill.  The Rotary Club of Arkansas, led by Sam Chaffin of Benton, has been involved in the education effort surrounding Rx drug abuse in Arkansas for years and were instrumental in helping design this bill.  The Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Arkansas Pharmacy Association (APA), and the Arkansas State Police (ASP) were all instrumental in providing input and support for the passage of this bill.  
According to Chief Kirk Lane, “This bill is a tremendous step forward in helping to combat the prescription drug problem that has engulfed our state and country the past decade. We realize we can’t arrest our way out of this problem, but what has been successful is law enforcement working together with prescribers and distributors on collaborative efforts to prevent drug abuse in our community and state.”  
The passage of Act 901 is perfectly timed due to the upcoming statewide prescription drug take back being held on April 25th, 10AM-2PM.  Help make a difference by going to for more information or to find a drop off location.