boozmanCollageU.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) and U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) will join the Benton Police Department for Operation Medicine Cabinet XII. As part of the on-going DEA prescription medicine take back initiative, officers will be staffed at drop-off locations in the city in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies in the county and state.

Boozman and Hill have been leaders in the effort to eradicate deaths and accidents due to prescription drug abuse and misuse. Both of have used their leadership positions to not only discuss the dangers before large groups, they have been instrumental in the formation and/or promotion of various programs concerning drug abuse.

“The availability of prescription painkillers is a leading factor in the increase of opioid abuse,” Boozman said. “Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled. Nationwide 44 people die from prescription abuse or misuse every day. Arkansas Take Back is responsible for removing more than 72 tons of unneeded medication, estimated at 201 million pills from Arkansas homes. Help reduce the risk of developing addictions to prescription drugs by participating in Operation Medicine Cabinet.”

“This is a serious problem that deserves more of our attention … At the age of 18, my daughter knew four people that lost their lives due to the influence of prescription drugs. That’s tragic,” Hill said. “Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in Arkansas and throughout our country. I’m grateful for men like [BNPD] Chief Kirk Lane who leads on this issue.”

Operation Medicine Cabinet XII will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at Ferguson’s Furniture parking lot, located at 1200 Ferguson Drive in Benton; Hurricane Lake Estates Boat Ramp, located at 6015 Worth Ave E. in Benton; and prescriptions can be dropped into the 24/7 drop box located at the police department (114 S. East St.). Everyone is encouraged to start looking through their own medicine cabinet in preparation for this event, and those that drop off old medications will receive prizes while supplies last.

The event is aimed at halting prescription drug abuse and misuse, and raising awareness about the dangers of legal and illegal drug use. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 78 Americans die as a result of overdose in the U.S. every day, making the opioid epidemic more fatal than automotive accidents. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record with the majority of the overdose deaths in this country result from prescription painkillers called opioids - Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Methadone, etc.

“People don’t understand how dangerous and addicting opioids can be,” BNPD Chief Kirk Lane said. “A lot of people become addicted very innocently, they’re going through some pain trauma and they get involved in this and can’t find a way back.”

About two-thirds of all prescription drugs (which also include stimulants such as Adderall and depressants like Ativan) illegally obtained are taken from people’s homes and not pharmacies or off the street.

Recent surveys show that more than four in 10 teens (42 percent) who have misused or abused a prescription drug obtained it from their parent’s medicine cabinet, and 64 percent of teens (age 12-17) that have abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives. Although most people take prescription medications responsibly, an estimated 52 million people (20 percent of those aged 12 and older) have used prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetimes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Monitoring the Future survey, about 1 in 12 high school seniors reported past-year nonmedical use of the prescription pain reliever Vicodin in 2010, and 1 in 20 reported abusing OxyContin—making these medications among the most commonly abused drugs by adolescents.
Among those who reported past-year nonmedical use of a prescription drug, nearly 14 percent met criteria for abuse of or dependence on it. More than 70 percent of teenagers say it is easy to get prescription drugs from their parents’ medicine cabinets, according to a 2014 Partnership for Drug-Free Kids study.
Returning your unwanted medicines to Operation Medicine Cabinet is the safest and most environmentally protective way to dispose of unused medication. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting our waters, impacting aquatic species, and contaminating our food and water supplies. Most medicines are not removed by wastewater treatment plants or septic systems. Scientists have found medicines in surface, ground and marine waters as well as soils and sediments in the Pacific Northwest. Even at very low levels, medicines in the environment hurt aquatic life. 

Medicines are a special type of hazardous chemical which are not safe in solid waste systems and landfills. Drugs can be very toxic for people and wildlife, even in low doses. Just as we do not put used motor oil or leftover paint thinner in the trash, we should not put these extremely potent pharmaceutical chemicals into unsecure curbside trash cans.

For additional information about prescription drug abuse and helpful links please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s website at: www.samhsa.gov For information on the statewide drug take back and other drop off sites please go to: www.artakeback.org.

To report suspicious activity, a crime or to receive information about this monthly initiative, call the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals also may send us anonymous information to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text or go to www.crimereports.com to leave a tip. A crime tip can also be submitted via the official Benton Police Department app found on ITunes and Google Play.

Follow BNPD on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Benton-Police-Department/221829174560849

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