BNPD Kicks Off ‘STOP Drug Abuse Now’ Initiative

NewCoin2014-Front-Transparent-webDuring the month of September, the Benton Police Department (BNPD) will conducting a ‘STOP Drug Abuse Now’ initiative.  STOP is an acronym for:
S: Safer Community
T: Teenage Usage
O: Overdoses
P: Prescription Drugs
The goal of this initiative is to educate youth, parents, and other adults about the harms that result from drug abuse.  As a part of this initiative to make our city a safer community, we will be looking at various avenues to share information about the dangers associated with illicit drug use.  
One technique that will be utilized is the School Resource Officers will be ramping up classes about the dangers of drug use and abuse.  In addition to talking about the associated dangers, SRO’s will encourage dialogue among each students about not caving into peer pressure that’s often associated with substance abuse.  BNPD will also utilize public service announcements on our various social media platforms and local media outlets to help spread the word about the dangers involved.
Teen usage rates of illicit and prescription drugs have fluctuated over the years.  Through education and prevention efforts, prescription drug use in teens and adults in Arkansas have started to show a downward usage trend in recent years.  This was coming after Arkansas was shown to have one of the highest prescription drug abuse problems in the country just 8 years ago.  Unfortunately, as the perception of harm has dropped with some drugs, such as marijuana, the usage rates have started to trend upwards the past decade.  
One drug that’s an area of concern lately is heroin.  Heroin has started to show up in our community and communities across Arkansas recently. Some of the increase has been attributed to prescription drug abuse leading them to heroin, which is cheaper to obtain and feeds their addiction.  Part of it is also attributed to the normalization and lowered perception of harm in those states that are starting to legalize illicit drugs.  
The BNPD is actively seeking out sources of the Heroin, which is evident with recent dealers who were apprehended. We will continue working with other local agencies in attempt to locate and arrest those responsible for this influx. Additionally, we are developing a training regimen to teach officers on the proper application of Naloxone that will help save the lives of overdose victims.  
In 2011, 52 million people in the US over the age of 12 used prescription drugs non-medically at least once in their lifetime, 6.2 million in the past month. Abuse of prescription narcotic painkillers sit at the heart of the epidemic. Forty-five people die every day from opioid prescription painkillers – more deaths than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.
We have made great strides in fighting prescription drug abuse in Arkansas through the implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and the drug take back programs.  BNPD will be joining other department across the state in hosting another drug take back program on Saturday, September 26th at Ferguson’s Furniture on Military Road from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Anyone can also utilize our Rx Dropbox located in the lobby of the police department 24/7, no questions asked.   
All of these efforts and actions are something we generally do year-round, but we pick an aspect each month of what we do on an everyday basis and put it under a microscope.  This is done to enhance education to the public and our officers in the hopes of improving those issues in our community. Sometimes our focus is community-policing orientated and other times they are enforcement related, with the ultimate goal of improving our services and protecting our community.  
To find out more information about drug abuse or a drop off location visit: