Attorney General Fox Encourages Montanans to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
On Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Montana Department of Justice, local law enforcement agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of unused prescription drugs.
Montanans are invited to bring their unwanted prescription pills and patches for free, anonymous, no-questions-asked disposal at one of over 20 participating sites across the state. “According to the Montana Office of Epidemiology and Scientific Support, in 2013 there were 125 overdose deaths from prescription substances on their own,” said Attorney General Tim Fox. “That number doesn’t even include deaths where prescription drugs were mixed with alcohol or illicit drugs, or deaths resulting from drug DUIs. Prescription medicines that sit in home cabinets are highly susceptible to abuse, misuse and diversion. That’s why safe, responsible disposal at a Take-Back Day location or at a permanent drug take-back box is the best thing to do with unneeded medications.”
The following items cannot be accepted at the Take-Back events: Illegal drugs, chemotherapy drugs, needles, sharps, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, pressurized canisters, and radioactive substances.
Cities hosting Take-Back events include Big Timber, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Colstrip, Columbia Falls, Crow Agency, Cut Bank, Dillon, Gardiner, Glendive, Great Falls, Harlem, Harlowton, Lame Deer, Miles City, Missoula, Poplar, Roundup, Stevensville, Superior, White Sulphur Springs, and Whitefish. To view the details of each event, visit www.dea.gov. This site will be continuously updated with new take-back locations.
Residents who cannot make it to a Take-Back Day event, or who do not live in one of the cities hosting a Take-Back event can dispose of their unwanted medications by visiting a permanent drug drop box location. The complete list of permanent drug drop box locations in Montana is available at https://dojmt.gov/prescriptiondrugabuse/operation-medicine-cabinet/.
Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office recently awarded $26,000 in grants to 13 Montana pharmacies to become pharmacy prescription drug take-back locations, making it easier for consumers to dispose of these dangerous substances safely and responsibly. The 13 awardees are Bitterroot Drug in Hamilton, Granite Pharmacy in Missoula, Florence Pharmacy in Florence, Benton Pharmacy in Fort Benton, Health Service Pharmacy at the University of Montana’s Curry Health Center in Missoula, Alpine Apothecary in Whitefish, St. James Healthcare Hospital Pharmacy in Butte, Family Pharmacy in Stevensville, Lolo Drug in Lolo and The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Tribal Health Department with locations in St. Ignatius and Polson. These pharmacy locations will be added to the list as soon as their sites are up and running.
The National Prescription Drug Take-Back addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. In the previous nine Take-Back events nationwide from 2010-2014, more than 4.8 million pounds — 2,411 tons — of drugs were collected. Many Americans are not aware that medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that many abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, many Americans do not know how to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away – both potential safety and health hazards.