FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — Arkansas accounted for more than half of the 45,000 pounds of drugs collected by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s New Orleans Division during its annual Drug Take Back event last month.
The event, now in its 17th year, is a nationwide effort to get potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs off the streets.
The New Orleans Division also encompasses Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Arkansas accounted for 28,073 pounds of drugs recovered — more than the other three states combined. Alabama collected 6,800 pounds of drugs, while Louisiana and Mississippi reported 7,046 and 3,753 pounds, respectively.
“It’s absolutely critical that we all do our part in getting unwanted and expired drugs out of our homes and dispose of them safely at these Drug Take-Back events,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.
“Prescription medications often end up in the wrong hands, feeding an epidemic that is killing 130 people a day.”
Nationally, more than 937,000 pounds of drugs were collected at 6,200 collection sites across the country on April 27, according to DEA data.
Byerley thanked residents and law enforcement in the four-state division, adding that they took “an important step in reducing the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse.”
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office led the way among local agencies, collecting 1,382 pounds of drugs.
Rogers police were second with 602 pounds, followed by the the Benton County Sheriff’s Office with 485 pounds, Springdale police with 150 pounds, and then Fayetteville police with 86 pounds.
Bentonville police did not serve as a drop off location and had no data to report.
“Every year our totals have grown and that’s a testament to the citizens of Northwest Arkansas and their dedication to properly disposing of old prescriptions and unused medications,” said Keith Foster, spokesman for Rogers police.
“Arkansas ranks third in the nation as far as medications turned in for destruction,” Foster added.
“We are hoping we can move into second place with this event.”
The DEA says Drug Take Back Day has been successful not only in getting unused drugs out of homes, but also in raising awareness of their link to diction and overdose deaths.
Complete results for the DEA’s spring Take Back Day can be found here.