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Father Speaks About Prescription Drug Abuse as State Collects Pills

Boxes upon boxes of dangerous prescription pills are now in the possession of law enforcement. The pills were collected all across Arkansas Saturday as the state participated in a nationwide drug take-back event Helping to promote the importance of the event was Gary Speed whose son died of a prescription drug overdose.
BENTON, AR -- Boxes upon boxes of dangerous prescription pills are now in the possession of law enforcement.
  
The pills were collected all across Arkansas Saturday as the state participated in a nationwide drug take-back event

Helping to promote the importance of the event was Gary Speed whose son died of a prescription drug overdose.

"He was happy, healthy, funny and smart," Speed said of his son.  "He was 6'4"... had blonde hair, blue eyes."

Albert Speed wanted to study engineering at Columbia University.  But during his junior year at Little Rock's Central High School his father says Albert began experimenting with drugs.

One day in 2006, Gary Speed got the phone call every parent fears.

"He took two pills basically, Methadone and Xanax, and those shut down his breathing," Speed said.

At 17 years old, Albert Speed was dead.

"It was very hard," his father said.

The grieving process led Gary Speed to get involved in the fight against prescription drug abuse.

Among other things, he's works to spread the word about the importance of take back events like the one Saturday.

At the Benton Police Department, pills came in from collection sites all across Saline County.

They were counted, boxed up and sent away to be incinerated.

"We are showing signs of improvement," Speed said.
  
Arkansas was named the worst state in the country for teen prescription drug abuse, but Benton Police say the numbers are slowly coming down.
  
As Gary Speed travels the state telling his son's story and speaking about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, he hopes fewer parents will have to feel the pain of losing a child too soon.
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