HELENA – Authorities in the Helena area say they were pleased with the turnout at Saturday’s events for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office reported collecting about 95 pounds of unused or expired medications, from events at Shopko and Walgreens in Helena, as well as one in Lincoln. Agencies like the Montana Patrol and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also took part in drug take-back events.
LCSO has been taking part in Drug Take Back Day for about four years. Pat Hurley, captain of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Reserves, said the public is becoming more aware of the importance of these events.
“We had quite a few comments, that people thanked us for participating in this event and giving them a couple locations where they could come and turn in their expired and unused prescriptions,” he said. “We’d like to thank everybody that participated in today’s event.”
According to the Montana Department of Justice, 36 collection sites across the state took in prescriptions Saturday. The drugs collected will be incinerated.
“People can get rid of narcotics or other drugs and don’t have to feel bad about where they’re putting them and where they’re going to wind up,” Hurley said. “It’s a safe disposal for them.”
Leaders say, when unused medications sit around, they can be vulnerable to abuse and misuse. Simply throwing them away or flushing them down the toilet can create other health and safety hazards.
DOJ says, since 2010, Drug Take Back Day events in Montana have collected nearly 33,000 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
If you missed Saturday’s events, Hurley said the sheriff’s office will hold more collections around the year. You can also take unwanted medications to one of more than 50 permanent drop-off locations around Montana. In Helena, you can find drop boxes at the Law Enforcement Center and at Geneva Woods Pharmacy.
-Jonathon Ambarian/MTN News