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BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - It's a busy time of year, as folks are cleaning for the new season and getting ready to settle in for the cold weather.

One of the things you should think about doing is cleaning out your medicine cabinet and ridding of all the old prescription drugs you no longer need.

(Photos: Most addictive prescription drugs)

Sept. 29 is 5th annual National Drug Take-Back Day from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. To find a location close to you, visit http://www.artakeback.org.

More about Drug Take-Back Day in Arkansas from previous THV stories:

-Authorities say the program helps to get drugs off the streets.

-The program, as of April 16, 2012, has disposed of nearly 500 tons of medication at more than 5,300 sites operated by over 4,000 state and local law enforcement agencies.

-In 2007, Arkansas was reported to have the worst teen prescription pain reliever abuse problem in the entire U.S. The Prescription Drug Take-Back Program is working to combat this by offering parents a place to safely dispose of their unused prescription medication.

Benton PD issued this release on what they call "Operation Medicine Cabinet VI":

The Benton Police Department is launching Operation Medicine Cabinet VI on September 29th as part of the on-going DEA prescription medicine take back initiative. Officers will once again be staffing drop-off locations in the city in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies in the county and state.

Everyone is encouraged to start looking through their own medicine cabinet in preparation for this event, and if you can't make it on Sept. 29th you're encouraged to use the 24 hour drop-off box located at the Benton Police Department. The two drop off sites will be at Ferguson's Furniture located on Military Rd. and at Saline Memorial Hospital near the main entrance. Wal-Mart gift cards and Sonic drink coupons will once again be offered, while supplies last, for those that participate by dropping off medicine. We have mixed in four $50 Wal-Mart gift cards with the $5 cards, donated by the Benton Wal-Mart Supercenter, that will be given out to four lucky individuals who turn in their medications on this day.

As part of this year's event we are also partnering with the Christian Community Care Clinic to assist them with items they need. The Christian Community Care Clinic provides free medical care and dental extractions to Saline County residents who have no health or dental insurance.

The clinic is in need of the following items to be donated in working order: updraft machines, blood pressure monitors, and CPAP machines. Many times these items are stored away and this is a perfect way to recycle them and help a neighbor in need. These items can be dropped off at either one of the two Rx drop off locations and they will be given to the clinic.

Saline County and Benton have both leaders in the state in the amount of drugs taken back in all of the previous statewide drug take backs. That isn't to say we necessarily have more of a problem with prescription drug abuse, just that our population is more attune to the problem and is better educated about the dangers. By continuing to educate our citizen's, our intention is to continue leading the state in future drug take back events and see a decrease in the amount of injuries and deaths associated with their misuse.

Just a reminder that approximately 70 percent of all prescription drugs illegally obtained are taken from people's homes and not pharmacies or off the street. Approximately 1/5 (52 million people) of the US population aged 12 and older reported non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs at some point in their lifetime. These include prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives.

A new government survey finds the number of young adult's ages 18 to 25 who used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month declined 14 percent, from 2 million in 2010, to 1.7 million in 2011. Overall, the survey found a 12 percent decline in the number of Americans who abused prescription drugs.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) also found that non-medical use of prescription drugs among children ages 12 to 17, and adults 26 or older, remained unchanged. According to the survey, rates of past-month drinking, binge drinking, and heavy drinking among those who are underage are all on the decline. Marijuana use is up slightly, from 5.8 percent in 2007, to 7 percent in 2011. Tobacco use among teens ages 12 to 17 is down.

The purpose of sharing these statistics is to convey the importance of participating in drug take back events and the continuance of education to our citizens. The numbers reported from the Saline County Coroners' office that attribute deaths to prescription drug abuse are still lower than they were three years ago, but our desire is to see zero related deaths in our community.

If for some reason somebody cannot make it to one of the take-back locations but still want to get rid of old medicine then they may drop them off at our 24/7 drop box located at the Benton Police Department (114 S. East St.).

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