As the abuse of prescription medications continues to prevail as one of the most threatening public health crises of our time, officials are working hard to put new measures in place that will allow individuals throughout Arkansas to keep unwanted and expired medications out of the home.
It is believed that opioid dependence and other types of drug abuse can sometimes start in the medicine cabinet, meaning that the more access one has to substances of abuse, the likelier it is that he or she may develop a substance use disorder.
But Arkansas residents now have a safe, legal, and confidential means of disposing of these potentially harmful substances. A program known as Arkansas Takeback was founded in 2010 by a group of key stakeholders including State Drug Director Fran Flener, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and both Arkansas districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The coalition came together to launch a drug takeback program with the goal of increasing access to educational programming aimed at helping the public learn about the importance of safe disposal methods for certain medications and substances.
Through a variety of initiatives, the program is working to encourage Arkansas residents to “Monitor, Secure and Dispose” of their prescription medications at designated drop-off sites and events.
A Safer Method for Disposal
In the past, most people disposed of expired or unwanted medications by simply flushing them down the toilet or washing them down the drain. But this method has proven to have some damaging consequence to the environment, and is especially harmful to the water supply. Tossing old prescriptions in the trash is problematic as well because they can easily fall into the hands of children, animals, or individuals who are seeking substances to abuse.
Fortunately, programs like Arkansas Takeback provide a better alternative to these outdated disposal methods, allowing residents to safely dispose of substances that have the potential for harm or for abuse.
Drop-off location are available in many locations throughout the state, and individuals who live in Washington County can drop prescription medications at the following locations:
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office
- Washington County Courthouse
- The VA Medical Center–Washington County Sheriff’s Office
According to the Arkansas Takeback website, there are certain regulations about the types of substances that can be disposed of through the program, but the following items are returnable: prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, vitamins, pet medicines, medicated ointments and lotions, inhalers, liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces), and medicine samples.
However, the following items cannot be disposed of through Arkansas Takeback: needles, lancets, or syringes, thermometers, aerosol cans, empty containers, bloody or infectious waste, personal care products (soap, shampoo, etc.), hydrogen peroxide, and business waste. To learn how to safely dispose of these items, Arkansas Takeback recommends contacting your pharmacist or local Health Department.