TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) — Police in Texarkana say the arrest of a local doctor on federal drug charges is a “positive step” toward taking opioids off the street, but they’re urging residents to take extra precautions to lock up their medicine and offering an opportunity to dispose of any they don’t need anymore.
Dr. Lonnie Parker was arrested Tuesday and charged with nine counts of prescribing without a legitimate medical purpose. Parker is accused of over-prescribing controlled substances including opiates, benzodiazepines, and promethazine with codeine cough syrup to patients in and near Texarkana.
“While this is most definitely a positive step in combating the opioid crisis, we want the public to be informed and prepare for the direct impact expected in the coming weeks,” the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department said in a statement released Tuesday.
TAPD is warning that addicts may turn to friends and family’s medicine cabinet and asks that all citizens be extra cautious in keeping their prescription medications locked up and monitored.
“Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse,” the statement said.
The police department also wants to remind the public that the city’s 14th annual Drug Take-Back Day is set for Saturday, October 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They point to studies that show the usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down to the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.
The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Items accepted for the program:
- Liquid medications (in leak-proof containers)
- Medicated ointment, lotions, or drops
- Pills in any packaging (glass bottles, plastic containers, plastic bags, etc.)
- Over-the-counter medications
- Pet medications
Items not accepted in the program:
- Blood sugar equipment
- Illegal drugs & narcotics (although police will accept these items if placed in the container)
- IV bags
- Bloody or infectious waste
- Personal care products (shampoo, lotions, etc)