LITTLE ROCK — Public service announcements promoting Arkansas’ participation in the latest prescription drug-take back event features a Little Rock business executive for whom the issue of prescription drug abuse is deeply personal.
The spots feature Curt Bradbury, whose son committed suicide in 2010 after battling a prescription drug addiction for years.
"Prescription drugs are miracles when they’re used properly but killers when they’re abused," Bradbury says in a spot produced for television, looking solemnly into the camera.
Bradbury and his wife, Chucki, spoke Tuesday at a luncheon of the Rotary Club of Little Rock, the group that created the PSAs to promote the fifth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday.
"Neither Chucki nor I think that drug abuse can be completely eradicated, but control works," said Curt Bradbury, chief operating officer at Stephens Inc. "In your take back programs you have no doubt saved lives, and that’s what we seek to do as well."
Chucki Bradbury said Cameron began using drugs at age 12 or 13.
"He started with marijuana and experimented with other drugs until he had his ‘aha’ moment with prescription drugs," she said. "He found them in my luggage on a trip."
The Bradburys learned that Cameron was addicted to prescription drugs when he came home from college and asked to go to rehab. After going through rehab and relapsing four times, he "killed the addiction beast" by killing himself, Chucki Bradbury said.
She urged parents to keep their prescription drugs under lock and key, clean out their medicine cabinets regularly and take part in drug take backs.
"After the medicine cabinets are cleaned out, what is next?" she said. "My drug prescription is, let’s talk. Let’s talk about the drug scourge like we talk about football games and NFL refs. Let’s not hide it when we see it. Let’s bring it out in the open and give it exposure."
Unwanted and no longer needed prescription drugs can be dropped off at more than 130 locations across the state between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday. People can find the locations of drop-off sites near them by visiting www.artakeback.org and entering their address.
"In the four previous (national take backs), our law enforcement across this state have stepped up to the plate," state Drug Director Fran Flener told the Rotary Club Tuesday. "We’ve taken back over 17 1/2 tons of pills."
Between 2002 and 2007, eight of the top 10 substances that caused overdose deaths in Arkansas were legal drugs, according to the state drug director’s office.
In March 2010, Arkansas stepped up its efforts to curb prescription drug abuse by launching the "Monitor, Secure, Dispose" campaign, which has promoted community outreach and education programs, drug take backs and legislation to establish a prescription drug monitoring program. More than 300 organizations are partnered with the state in the program.
National Drug Take Back Day is sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.