For one Region 8 town prescription drug arrest over take marijuana

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) – The Marked Tree Police Department along with Arkansas State University Technical Center will hold a prescription drug drop off April 22nd. According to Detective Jeremy Bond, the occasion is designed to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of children and other abusers. Bond said since the beginning of the year, police have arrested just as many individuals for prescription drug abuse as marijuana.

"Until recently, methamphetamine is still a problem. We started really picking up on those. Some of the laws dealing with ephedrine have cut that down, while we still make some (arrests). It just seems like for the last several years, especially prescription medication abuse, it has skyrocketed," said Bond. "They say nationally that 2,500 teenaged students from ages 14-18 use prescription medication on a recreational use daily."

Bond said all prescription drugs will be taken unless it includes needles, thermometers and diabetic supplies.

Various other cities will participate in the prescription drug take back program.

Bond said someone stole $4,000 in prescription drugs Saturday night at Nyal's Drug Store. He said he doesn't believe the criminal is from the Marked Tree area.

"That just shows you how demanding these prescription medications are becoming and it's not just us. It's other jurisdictions and other pharmacies getting hit," said Bond. "The other drugs are a little harder to get to now and these are easier to get."

"I believe it's easier to get illegal drugs. You get into more of the criminal element in dealing with pushers and distributors and things like that," said Larry Jackson, pharmacist at John & Frank Pharmacy.

"Some days, I think 35-40% of my prescriptions are not necessarily taken for what they should be taken for," said Jackson.

Jackson said prescription drug abuse is a problem because the products are not locked away.

"They have some kind of disorder that you just have to have it every day. They have to keep it under lock and key depending on people in their own family who will steal it. I have people telling me that they keep it locked up," said Jackson.

Jeff Bookout, Vice Chancellor for the ASU Technical Center, said Celebrate Earth Day 2011 will include several activities and free giveaways to participants. For more information, call (870)358-2117.

"They report that over 60% of them get them from a family member. They take them out of grandpa's medication cabinet or they get it from a friend who has a prescription," said Bond. "We do occasionally run upon teenagers that have prescription medication or are under the influence of some sort of prescription medication."

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