State leads in drug take-back

Monday, March 12, 2012

CARROLL COUNTY -- Local law enforcement agencies along with others across Arkansas will be participating in the state's fourth "Drug Take Back Initiative" by accepting unwanted or leftover prescription drugs April 28 at special collection sites.

Arkansas agencies have been a leader in the national take back effort -- collecting roughly 10 times the drugs of its neighbors in a four-state region.

According to Steve Varady, Office of the Drug Director in Little Rock, Arkansas was responsible for more than three-fourths of all the drugs collected in the four state Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) region during the last Take Back effort.

The other states were: Alabama at nine percent collection rate; Mississippi at seven percent; and Louisiana at seven percent. Arkansas came in at 77 percent.

Carroll County Sheriff Bob Grudek said he believes the states' drug director, Fran Flener, is responsible for Arkansas' success because of her aggressive approach.

"I'm very pleased," he said, "especially when seeing the statistics. Prescription drugs are becoming a serious problem with our youth. I'm pleased we are doing so well and taking the drugs off the streets."

Grudek said his department will participate again by setting up drop off sites at the Holiday Island sub-station and at the Grassy Knob Volunteer Fire Department.

"The same as last time," he said. "And I hope to have Sharp's containers at Green Forest and Eureka Springs police departments that day for collection.

There is a permanent drop box set up in front of the sheriff's office in Berryville for use by residents any time day or night.

Grudek said he was pleasantly surprised to find it is being used consistently. That is what he had hoped for, he said, when the collection box was first established as a joint effort involving his department and St. John's Hospital -- now known as Mercy Hospital.

Drugs dropped in the permanent drop box are collected every week or so and turned over to Mercy Hospital, he said, which transports the drugs to St. Louis for proper disposal.

Drugs collected during the regional Take Back event will be transported to a regional site where further transportation and safe disposal will be provided by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Specific drop off times for the regional event will be announced at a later date.

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