AG Fox Encourages Montanans to Participate in National Rx Drug Take Back Day
HELENA – On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Montana Department of Justice, local law enforcement agencies, tribal law enforcement agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies will give the public its seventeenth opportunity in nine years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of unused prescription drugs. Montanans are invited to bring their unwanted prescription pills and patches for free, no-questions-asked disposal at one of 35 participating collection sites across the state.
“Take Back Day offers a safe and easy way for each of us to properly dispose of outdated medications,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “And for the first time in the history of this event in Montana, the USDA will host a Take Back site in Hamilton, expanding disposal options for Bitterroot Valley residents. I appreciate the support of all USDA agencies, as well as our many law enforcement partners, in making it convenient for Montanans to drop off unwanted prescription drugs that might otherwise be diverted or abused.”
Additionally, USDA Forest Service officers will also assist with a local Take Back location in Helena. The USDA has asked its agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, the Farm Service Agency, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, to also promote Take Back Day to employees and through social media channels to increase awareness statewide.
“Supporting and promoting Take Back Day is one small way to help Montanans slow or prevent opioid misuse in our communities,” said Tom Watson, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist for Montana. “Secretary Sonny Perdue and all USDA agencies are committed to partnerships that help rural families address opioid addiction, whether through outreach or helping to build economic stability in rural America,” Watson added.
Towns hosting Take Back events include Big Timber, Billings, Box Elder, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Columbus, Crow Agency, Cut Bank, Ft. Belknap, Gardiner, Glendive, Great Falls, Hamilton, Harlem, Harlowton, Helena, Lame Deer, Lewistown, Libby, Lincoln, Livingston, Missoula, Polson, Red Lodge, Ronan, Roundup, Shelby, Superior, West Yellowstone, and Whitefish. To view the details of each event, visit www.takebackday.dea.gov. This site will be continuously updated with new participating locations up until the day of the event.
The following items cannot be accepted: Illegal drugs, chemotherapy drugs, needles, sharps, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, pressurized canisters, and radioactive substances. Montanans who can’t make it to a Take Back Day event, or who aren’t near one of the hosting towns, can dispose of their unwanted medications by visiting one of over 50 permanent drug drop box locations across the state.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Nationwide, a total of 914,236 pounds, or 457 tons, were brought to 5,839 collection sites last October. Over 36,000 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications have been collected at Montana National Take Back Day events since 2010.
As part of Attorney General Fox’s Aid Montana initiative, three new drug incinerators were installed in Butte, Great Falls, and Billings last year. The incinerators are used to safely destroy prescription drugs turned into local law enforcement take back boxes, and are invaluable in keeping unwanted medications out of Montana’s communities and water supplies.