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VIDEO: Six tons of drugs collected in prescription take back event

by Gavin Lesnick | November 7, 2011 at 10:25 a.m. | Updated November 7, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
State Drug Director Fran Flener talks after a news conference Monday announcing results of an Oct. 29 drug take-back event in Arkansas.

— Nearly 6 tons of prescription drugs were collected in Arkansas during a daylong drug take-back event last month, officials said Monday.

Arkansans were asked to bring in unused prescriptions to have them safely disposed of at 138 sites across the state, ensuring the medications didn't contaminate the environment or fall into the hands of abusers.

Nearly 12,000 pounds of unused medications were collected during the third drug take-back effort in Arkansas.

Six tons of prescriptions collected

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In all, 11,924 pounds of drugs - an estimated 16.9 million pills - were handed in. Combined with two similar events held previously, Arkansas authorities have collected about 12 tons of unused prescriptions.

"Just by the sheer volume that was collected through these three events, it is very reasonable to believe a teen's first experience with pills or a toddler accidentally ingesting, swallowing pills or maybe even an overdose death has been averted," said State Drug Director Fran Flener.

The Oct. 29 event - dubbed the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Prescription Take Back Initiative - was the largest of the three held so far. It marked an increase of more than 4,500 pounds worth of drugs from a similar statewide event in April.

The drugs were destroyed at a hazardous waste facility in El Dorado.

Drug take-back events are held about every 6 months.

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