By JOHN WORTHEN
For the Sunday News
EL DORADO — In an effort to curb prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults, the 13th Judicial District Task Force will hold a prescription drug disposal day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Union County Health Department’s drive-thru, 301 American Drive, El Dorado.
The event will be held in conjunction with the task force’s auto auction, which will be held in the parking lot of the prosecutor’s office next to the health unit, as well as the Union County Sheriff’s Office across the street.
Arkansas currently ranks No.1 in the nation for prescription drug abuse among teens, according to 13th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Robin J. Carroll, who noted that Union County has seen four deaths recently due to prescription drug overdoses.
Many teens have easy access to prescription pills via their parents’ medicine cabinets, which are often treasure troves for those seeking a quick high.
Those who have outdated or unused medications are urged to bring them to the disposal event to prevent the pills from falling into the wrong hands, Carroll said.
Anyone who brings medications will receive a $5 Wal-Mart gift card (while supplies last). The pills will be incinerated by Clean Harbors.
According to a news release from Carroll, this event is part of a statewide campaign begun by the Arkansas Drug Director’s office in February to raise awareness of the dangers of medicine abuse.
According to the most recent Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment, a survey designed to measure drug abuse among Arkansas youth, close to one-fourth of responding high school seniors have abused pharmaceutical drugs at least once in their lifetime, and approximately 10 percent had engaged in recreational use in the past 30 days.
Union County Sheriff Ken Jones said that maintaining a secure environment for prescription medications should be a top priority for those with children in the home.
“It is my hope that our upcoming campaign to depose of prescription drugs that are just sitting around in a medicine cabinet, left over from some illness or injury of the past, will be successful,” said Jones.
“If we can prevent just one prescription pill from falling into the hands of a child or younger person or prevent one pill from being sold on the black market then we will be successful.”
Over the past two years, Jones said that there has been a marked increase in the number of cases his office has dealt with involving the illegal sale or abuse of prescription medication.
“Prescription narcotics are very easy to become addicted to people with a genuine need and a prescription from their doctor need to be real careful because these addiction can easily slip up on you during times of need such as injuries and illness. Play close attention to your doctor’s instructions and only use them when there is a serious need.
Robin J. Carroll, 13th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, holds a for sale sign as he stands behind one of the cars to be auctioned Saturday.
Fifty-seven vehicles, two ATVs and other miscellaneous items will be auctioned Saturday at the Union County Sheriff’s Office, 250 American Road, El Dorado, and at the offices of the 13th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney across the street as part of the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force’s seized car sell-off program.
The auction begins at 9 a.m., and those who wish to participate must register first. Registration is free.The public may view the vehicles throughout the day on Friday. All vehicles are sold as is, and all contain valid titles.
The cars on the auction block were seized during drug raids and arrests throughout the past several months, according to 13th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Robin J. Carroll.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the area law enforcement agencies and the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force. During the last auction held two years ago, approximately 200 people showed up to bid on 44 vehicles.