Prescription Drugs and the Problem We Face

  There have been 11 incidents involving prescription drugs being stolen from citizens in Benton recently.  This isn’t exactly something new, but we wanted to call attention to this alarming fact due to the on-going problems we face in Arkansas concerning prescription drug abuse.

    A lot of these prescription pills were stolen out of homes recently where they were taken during the commission of a residential burglary. Other cases involve them being stolen out of vehicles, that were often found to have been unlocked, and even from an individual who was shopping in a store.  Just recently there was a case in Saline County where a nursing home worker was caught stealing prescription medications from patients.  
    These cases place an emphasis on the serious problem we are faced with when talking about prescription drug abuse.  Ever since prescription drug abuse showed up on the radar a few years ago, it became more apparent the serious problem we face. For the combined years of 2010-2011, Arkansas ranked third highest in estimated past-year non-medical use of prescription pain relievers for 12 to 17 year olds and ranked ninth highest for individuals 12 and older. Quite frankly, that is scary to think about and we want to provide some insight on how you can help mitigate this problem.
    We would like to encourage everyone to please take the time to ensure their medications are safely stored, both in their homes and in their vehicles.  It’s best not to leave medications in your vehicle if at all possible, but if you do then at least store them in an out of view location so it doesn’t entice prying eyes to want to break in.  
    Safely storing medications inside your home presents a completely different set of problems, because sometimes the medications are taken by somebody you know.  Over 2/3 of teens that have abused prescription medications admit to taking them from their home or the home of a loved one.  This is a real problem when faced with the fact that over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse is rapidly increasing in earlier grades and at a rate comparable to, but faster than alcohol and cigarettes according to a 2009 DHS survey.  
    All of this is the reason why we have hosted seven prescription drug take back events and are working on an eighth coming up on October 26th.  It is not only a way to safely dispose of all of your old and unwanted drugs, but it is a catalyst for us to educate everyone about this serious problem.  The take back event will run from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at two locations; Ferguson’s Furniture on Military Rd. and at the new Benton Event Center parking lot by Tinseltown.  
    In the event you can’t make the prescription drug take back event, then you can always stop by and dispose of them 24/7 in the drop box located here at the police department.  Both the take back event and the drop box provide a unique way for you to dispose of old meds no questions asked. As always, if you stop by the Oct. 26th event we’ll have gift cards and coupons to hand out while supplies last.    
    You might also want to visit for more resources about fighting the prescription drug problem.  This is a website the Benton Police Department originally started four years ago and it was recently refreshed and updated.  The website design costs were paid for using drug seizure money, because we thought it was appropriate for illegal narcotics dealers to contribute positively back to the community in some fashion.  
    To date, we have taken back 4,588 lbs. of old medicine off the streets of Saline County during the past seven take back events so let’s keep up the forward progress.  Please help us spread the word about the prescription drug take back event coming up by telling all of your friends and neighbors.  It’s our hope that by taking a few hours on the 26th that we will continue to fight this burgeoning problem and hopefully keep from losing any more lives to it in our community.  Stay Safe Out There.  

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