Attorney General Fox Unveils New Drug Incinerator in Butte

Attorney General Tim Fox and other officials unveiled a drug incinerator in Butte this morning as part of the Attorney General’s Aid Montana:  Addressing the Impact of Drugs initiative.  The incinerator, as well as two others in Great Falls and Billings, will be used to safely destroy prescription drugs that have been turned into local law enforcement take-back boxes.  They will also destroy illegal drugs used as evidence in adjudicated cases.

“Montana is in the midst of a substance abuse crisis. We need to do everything we can to dispose of prescription drugs that are highly susceptible to abuse, misuse, and diversion,” said Attorney General Tim Fox.  “The installation of drug incinerators in Butte, Great Falls, and Billings will also support law enforcement in its continuous battle to impact our state’s illegal drug problem.”

The incinerators are located near Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) offices and are overseen by the Patrol. “Our new criminal interdiction teams have been very successful,” MHP Colonel Tom Butler noted.  “With their success, however, comes a plethora of evidence that keeps stacking up. The Patrol believes these incinerators will significantly improve and streamline evidence destruction in adjudicated cases, helping to alleviate our evidence storage problem.”

The drug incinerators will be available to the Montana Department of Justice’s law enforcement partners.  They will be an important asset to safely dispose of pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications turned in by citizens at National Take Back Day events.  The Drug Enforcement Administration reports a total of 29,576 pounds of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications have been collected at Montana National Take Back Day events since its inception in 2010.  Nationwide, over 9,000,000 pounds (4,508 tons) have been collected since 2010.   Nearly 2,100 pounds of prescription and non-prescription medications have been collected at National Take Back Day events in Butte since 2013.

The three incinerators cost a total of $171,447 to permit, purchase, and install.  Funding for the project came from the department’s 2014 settlement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

To learn more about substance abuse in Montana, read the Montana Department of Justice’s Substance Use in Montana Report.  For more information about the Attorney General’s Aid Montana:  Addressing the Impact of Drugs initiative, click here.

In addition to Attorney General Fox, speakers at today’s event included MHP Colonel Tom Butler, MHP Captain Gary Becker, Butte Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester, Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Bryan Lockerby, and Office of Consumer Protection Chief Mark Mattioli.