You are herePermanent Prescription Drug Drop-Boxes Collect Half a Ton of Unwanted Rx

Permanent Prescription Drug Drop-Boxes Collect Half a Ton of Unwanted Rx

By admin - Posted on 21 December 2011

HELENA – Montana communities have pitched more than half a ton of unwanted or expired prescription drugs at local, permanent drop-boxes in the six months since Attorney General Steve Bullock launched a grant program to help set up the disposal sites.

The program, called Operation Medicine Cabinet, provides up to $1,000 to communities to build or buy the secure drop-boxes. It began in June. So far, 17 Montana communities have applied for and won grants with 11 drop boxes now open.

Most of those drop-boxes opened in October or November. The latest results show the new boxes have been heavily utilized by Montanans looking for a way to keep their old or unwanted prescription drugs out of the hands of addicts.

In Kalispell, for example, citizens have dumped 62.4 pounds of drugs since November. Officials for the site in Billings have suggested adding more drop-boxes in their community.

“The immediate success of the prescription drug drop-box program shows Montanans are worried about the invisible epidemic of prescription drug abuse,” Bullock said. “We want to keep these drugs out of the hands of addicts, out of the hands of our kids. Local, permanent drop-boxes are a secure, convenient way for Montanans to be part of the solution. Prescription drugs are powerful and life-saving when used correctly. But they can destroy lives when abused. These drugs should save lives, not end them.”

Bullock launched Operation Medicine Cabinet shortly after taking office in 2009. The program has included statewide “take-back” days, where law enforcement set up temporary prescription drug collection spots. Additionally, the office launched a take-back tour last spring across rural Montana, collecting hundreds of pounds of drugs from Browning to Baker.

Prescription drug take-back efforts collected thousands of pounds of drugs, shone a light on the problem of prescription drug diversion and motivated communities to set up permanent drop-boxes.

Under the grant program, the attorney general’s office works with local law enforcement agencies and community groups. A community must have a secure location for the drop-box where it can be under law enforcement surveillance round-the-clock. They must show that they can either incinerate the collected drugs or properly dispose of them in a Type II landfill.

Finding such communities has been easy, Bullock said.

“Law enforcement officers and citizens alike deal with the destructive consequences of prescription drug abuse every day in Montana. We are happy to partner with them – and you – to raise awareness of this problem and address it head-on.”

Statistics show that 70 percent of people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends or family. Additionally, the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted of Montana teenagers showed that by the time Montana students are seniors in high school, 23 percent have abused prescription drugs.

There is a drop box located inside the entrance at the Meagher County Sheriff's Office at 101 W. Crawford, White Sulphur Springs, MT 59645



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