Attorney General Fox Encourages Montanans to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
On Saturday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Montana Department of Justice, local law enforcement agencies, tribal law enforcement agencies, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its sixteenth opportunity in eight 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 36 participating collection sites across the state.
“We have a record number of participating Take Back Day locations this Saturday, and I encourage all Montanans to visit the site nearest them to dispose of their unused and expired medications,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Prescription drugs that sit in home medicine cabinets are highly susceptible to abuse, misuse, and diversion. Throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet are both potential safety and health hazards. Take Back Day offers a convenient way for each of us to properly dispose of our outdated medications while protecting our communities and the environment at the same time.”
For the first time in the history of Montana’s Take Back Day events, the USDA has asked its agencies, including NRCS, USFS, Farm Services, and APHIS, to get involved with public outreach for Saturday’s event. In addition, USDA Forest Service law enforcement officers will assist on Take Back Day in Helena. Charles Robison, State Director of USDA Rural Development said, “As our Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue travels to rural communities across America, he hears over and over again the opioid epidemic is hitting rural America hard. He has directed us to do our part to help break the cycle. USDA has a presence in nearly every county and on every Indian Reservation in Montana. By spreading the word about Take Back Day, we are doing our small part to help our fellow Montanans rein in opioid misuse.”
Cities hosting Take Back events include Big Timber, Billings, Box Elder, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Columbus, Crow Agency, Cut Bank, Dillon, Fort Belknap, Gardiner, Glendive, Great Falls, Harlowton, Havre, Helena, Jordan, Lame Deer, Lewistown, Libby, Lincoln, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, Poplar, Red Lodge, Ronan, Roundup, Superior, West Yellowstone, and Whitefish. To view the details of each event, visit www.dea.gov. This site will be continuously updated with new participating locations.
The following items cannot be accepted at Take Back events: Illegal drugs, chemotherapy drugs, needles, sharps, mercury (thermometers), oxygen containers, pressurized canisters, and radioactive substances.
Montanans 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 one of over 50 permanent drug drop box locations across the state.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back event addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Nationwide, a total of 949,046 pounds, or 474 tons, were brought to 5,842 collection sites in April. Nearly 33,000 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 the state earlier this year. The incinerators, located in Butte, Great Falls, and Billings, 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.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day falls during Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23 – 29), a campaign designed to reduce the demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. By wearing a red ribbon during the week, Montanans can demonstrate their opposition to drugs and remember all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of America’s fight against drugs.