Trumann awarded drug collection unit

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trumann is now one of Arkansas's 70 locations to have a "Med Return Drug Collection Unit." Trumann Police Department was recently awarded a "prescription drop box" from the Arkansas Department of Health. When placed in a law enforcement location, the "Med Return Drug Collection Unit" provides a safe, legal, environmentally friendly acceptable drug disposal method and is used as a secure vehicle to dispose of unwanted or expired household medicines or prescription medication.

The box was installed Oct. 3, by Trumann Police Chief Chad Henson and is available for use immediately. The box is located at 221 S Melton Ave in front of the Trumann Court door. Residents may drop off items 24/7.

Items that will be accepted include; prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, samples, pet medications, medical ointments/lotions and liquid medications. Unacceptable items include thermometers, inhalers aerosols and needles.

Police said this program can lower the risk of substance abuse in the community and will help public safety in other ways including lessening the contamination of local water systems (disposing of medications by flushing them down the toilet or sink is thought to be a contributing factor in water contamination) and reducing the chance of accidental ingesting of pills by children.

"With a prescription comes responsibility. You should guard these prescriptions like you would a loaded gun", said Henson.

Those who wish to dispose of medications should take them to police headquarters, and drop items into the medicine return unit. If a citizen is uncomfortable driving the pills to the Police Department, just give Trumann Police Department a call and an officer will happily escort that person to the station to dispose of the pills.

Residents are encouraged not to keep unused or expired medications. After expiration, pharmaceutical compounds can deteriorate, lose effectiveness, and may be harmful. Storing medications may also create a danger for children through accidental or intentional usage. Parents are advised to dispose of any medication that is no longer needed.

The National Guard is responsible for collecting and disposing of the prescription pills in a safe manner. The unit will be checked regularly and the items will be properly destroyed.

"In North East Arkansas we do not have a prescription drug problem. We have a drug epidemic. We can make a major step in fighting prescription drug abuse by making a new plan for monitoring by physicians and pharmacist mandatory. Right now this monitoring is only voluntary. The mandatory requirement would identify and catch "pill shoppers" (people going to different doctors for new prescriptions of medicines already prescribed). Heroin, coke and marijuana are not the biggest problem in Trumann. It is prescription drugs. Pharmacist require a police report to refill a prescription that has been "stolen", Trumann Police Department will not file a report for stolen meds more than once in a single year", Henson said.

Lieutenant Lenny Becker with the Trumann Police Department reminds everyone residents are invited to dispose of old prescription drugs during The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day that runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 26.

The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a partnership between the DEA and state and local law enforcement aimed at providing a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

In 2012 Arkansas alone collected 18,000 pounds of prescription drugs, leading every state in surrounding areas. According to Sergeant Craig Stout, public information officer for the Fayetteville Police Department about 160 pounds of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs were turned in to Fayetteville law enforcement agencies during the fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

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