Benton badge 1The number of deaths from drug overdose has risen dramatically in the U.S. in recent years, reaching epidemic proportions, and is now the top cause of accidental deaths. To combat and educate the public on the dangers of drug abuse, whether it is illegal narcotics or prescribed medications, the Benton Police Department is launching the “Nope to Dope” initiative.

Throughout October, the BNPD will focus on different enforcement and educational activities to raise awareness about the damage drugs can cause to families and the community. This will be accomplished through various BNPD social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), our website, distribution of pamphlets or other education material, and presentations to organizations and in Benton schools. Additionally, the BNPD will host Operation Medicine Cabinet, the semi-annual drug take back event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 22. More details about the event will be released at a later date. Anyone can also utilize our Rx Dropbox located in the lobby of the police department 24/7, no questions asked.   

“The rate of overdose deaths across the country has risen dramatically, mostly due to opioid issues,” said Chief Kirk Lane. “Along with the rise in methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin use that we are seeing in our own jurisdiction - and with the upcoming drug take back event - this initiative is not only about drug enforcement, it’s about increasing education to protect our citizens.”

The number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes was a total of 29,230 in 2014. In that same year 47,055 people died from a drug overdose. That is 17,825 more people that died because of drugs than car crashes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic.” More persons died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record. The CDC also states that since 2000, the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137%, including a 200% increase in the rate of overdose deaths involving opioids (opioid pain relievers and heroin).  Opioid deaths have spiked from below 5,000 in the year 2000 to nearly 30,000 in 2014. In 2014, opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61% of all drug overdose deaths; the rate of opioid overdoses has tripled since 2000. 

Drug overdose deaths involving heroin continued to climb sharply, with heroin overdoses more than tripling in 4 years. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use, specifically among persons who report past-year dependence or abuse. The increased availability of heroin, combined with its relatively low price (compared with diverted prescription opioids) and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use and overdose.

We encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug usage, because education is the key to helping us make a difference in our community. We can further reduce the lives this problem destroys by simply educating those around us and by taking time to secure and dispose of old medications.

All of these efforts and actions are something we generally do year-round, but we pick an aspect each month of what we do on an everyday basis and put it under a microscope.  This is done to enhance education to the public and our officers in the hopes of improving those issues in our community.

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 to leave a tip. A crime tip can also be submitted via the official Benton Police Department app found on ITunes and Google Play.

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