In 2009, Chief Kirk Lane of the Benton, Arkansas Police Department was challenged in a most unlikely way. As he recalls, "a local business owner who doubled as the town's headstone monument maker had seen enough drug overdose deaths in young adults and challenged me - why don’t you do something about this?” It was then and there that Chief Lane was compelled and went to work.
He began by researching what had already been tried, what was successful and not so much. “We knew we needed to get drug education in our schools so we developed a series of pamphlets and went to the local school district and started talking to the students” Chief Lane recalls. But knowing if the supply of drugs were plentiful in society and often, unwittingly, education wouldn’t be enough. So using resources confiscated from criminal activity, the Benton Police Department along with then Arkansas Drug Director, Fran Flener began to develop what is now the Arkansas Drug Take-Back Program.
Today, Artakeback.org pairs with the Drug Enforcement Administration for the National Drug Take-Back Day and collectively takes in thousands of pounds of unused prescription medications that can be toxic in the hands of those who are not the intended recipients. In 2017, Chief Lane once again spearheaded a lobbying effort of the Arkansas State Legislature for better monitoring of the commonly abused, prescription drug supply available in Arkansas society. On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law SB 339, to become Arkansas Act 820 which mandates prescribers check the register before dispensing certain medications commonly abused. “States which have mandatory requirements for prescribers to check their Prescription Drug Monitoring Program have shown a 25 percent decrease in deaths and emergency room visits for drug overdose” said Chief Lane.
Chief Lane’s unwavering commitment of keeping illicit prescription medications out of the hands of Arkansans is unsurpassed. This year’s National - DEA-Arkansas Drug Take-Back Day is dedicated to the late William Christian Doerhoff and will be held on April 29, 2017. To see one of the hundreds of drop-off sites around Arkansas, visit Artakeback.org.