The bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for today throughout the nation. Take back locations will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27.

In Pine Bluff, take back locations will be hosted at Super 1 Food’s stores. The Pine Bluff Police Department will be at the Super 1 on Harding Avenue, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will be at the Super 1 on Hazel Street.

The White Hall Police Department will staff officers to receive medications at the White Hall Police Department at 8204 Dollarway Road.

With the launch of the nARcansas app coinciding with the 17th Arkansas Drug Take Back Day, the theme is “I can. You can. We can. Save a life with Narcan!”

“The main goal of every project, every act we participate in is to save lives,” said Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane. “The amount of lives saved with the semi-annual Arkansas Drug Take Back Day is countless. The amount of lives Arkansas first responders have saved with naloxone kits – 234! That number can only increase with the nARcansas app available to the public.”

The nARcansas app is a free opioid overdose resource containing tools that will help you administer the drug naloxone in the moment of an opioid overdose and provide steps on how to save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose.

Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid-induced overdose. Though it should be used in an emergency situation only, Naloxone has no effect on non-opioid overdoses.

The Arkansas Drug Take Back Day will include more than 250 locations across the state. Hundreds of volunteers and first responders will be at those locations encouraging citizens to dispose of unused or expired medications and officers will not ask for any identification or other questions regarding the prescriptions being dropped off.

The prescription medications will later be counted for statistical purposes and destroyed at a facility in an environmentally safe manner.

“Prescription medicines are a toxic waste and pose a danger to people, pets, and the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Medicines flushed or poured down the drain end up in the waterways, affecting our drinking water,” according to the news release.

“Throwing medications in the trash, even if they are mixed with materials such as kitty litter or coffee grounds, will still make it to a landfill and seep through the soil and into ground water. There’s also a danger of people and/or pets finding medications in the trash - The Animal Poison Control Center said 17.5% (34,888) of pet poisoning calls in 2017 were attributed to prescription medications.”

In Arkansas, there were 379 drug overdose deaths in 2016, which increased to 411 drug overdose deaths in 2017. Arkansas ranks second in the nation for per capita opioid prescriptions, at 107 per 100 residents; the national average is 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons. In nearly a decade (since 2000) deaths involving opioids has increased by 200% in the U.S.

Two-thirds of teenagers and young adults who report abuse of prescription medications say they get the majority of the medications from friends, family & acquaintances. Where do they get them? From our homes. Ask yourself if your medications are easily accessible by other people? Are they in a bathroom medicine cabinet, a drawer, or lying out on the counter? Do you keep medicines by your living room chair? Are your medications at risk of being pilfered through if you leave the room, even for just a few minutes?

• DON’T leave medication bottles or pill cases lying around

• DON’T store medicines in an unsecured medicine cabinet or bathroom drawer

• DON’T ignore warning signs (Ex: bottles tampered with, pills missing or drugged behavior of someone in your home)

• DO lock up medications in a lock box or hide them in a safe place

• DO keep track of medications – count pills, make marks on liquid containers

• DO keep track of refills – refilling medicine more often than expected can indicate a problem

• DO encourage relatives, friends & neighbors to monitor medications and participate in the Arkansas Drug Take Back Day.

The nARcansas app was created in a partnership with the Office of Arkansas Drug Director, Criminal Justice Institute, Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services and Team Si. Naloxone is available for purchase by the public at some pharmacies throughout Arkansas.