SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — Substance abuse counselor Krystal Sims knows what opiates can do. She was addicted to them for about 15 years. That’s why she hopes campaigns like “Arkansas Drug Takeback Day” are successful in promoting healthier living among individuals at risk of suffering the same ordeal.
“It rewires your brain to where you have to have them,” said Sims, who has been sober for nearly a decade. “They say in three to five days, you can become addicted to a substance.”
More than 16,000 people die from pain-killer overdose each year, according to NWA Tobacco & Drug Free Coalition statistics. Some commonly-abused medications are hydrocodone, Oxycontin, Xanax and Valium. This Saturday, Northwest Arkansans are encouraged to drop off overprescribed or unused drugs at select locations:
- Lowell City Police Dept.
- Springdale Police Dept.
- University Police Dept.
- Washington Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
- Greenland Police Dept.
- Farmington Police Dept.
- Lincoln Police Dept.
- Elkins Police Dept.
Lt. Jeff Taylor is the public information officer for the Springdale Police Dept., and he said the department partnered with Walmart to provide an additional drop-off location in the city.
“We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember,” Taylor said. “This year, we’re gonna be out at the Walmart Neighborhood Market on East Robinson. We’ll be there from 10 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and we’re just collecting any unwanted or unused prescription drugs.”
Taylor said folks who can’t make it out Saturday can swing by the Springdale Police Dept. anytime during the year and drop off unused medication at a permanent disposal in the main lobby.
“We have people who’ll bring it in a plastic bag of some sort,” Taylor said. “We don’t even look inside of it other than to make sure there’s no liquids, syringes, things like that.”
Sims said even those who don’t plan on taking the overprescribed or unused medication in their cabinets should drop them off anyway, especially those who are parents.
“It’s very important because kids growing up in the home…they’re growing up, and you sure don’t want them addicted,” Sims said.