Help Fight the “Invisible Epidemic”
Leftover and unwanted medications sitting in your medicine cabinet put communities at risk for prescription drug abuse and unintentional poisoning. According to the Montana Department and Attorney General’s Office, prescription drug abuse factors into the deaths of over 300 Montanans each year, making it more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Additionally, Montana ranks third in the nation for teen abuse of prescription pain relivers. More than half of these youths say that prescription drugs are easier to get than other illicit substances. These alarming statistics highlight the importance of doing what we can to fight what the Attorney General’s Office calls an “invisible epidemic.”
Great Falls Weed and Seed, with support from other local agencies and organizations, is giving community members the opportunity to be a part of the solution to this problem by sponsoring a drug drop-off event on Saturday, April 28 from 10am-2pm. On this day, you can bring expired or unwanted medications to the Montana Highway Patrol District Office at 812 14th Street South. The drop-offs are confidential and free of charge. Drop-off officials cannot accept sharps/needles, chemo/radioactive drugs or other non-pharmaceutical waste and encourage participants to remove or blackout any personal information on their prescription containers.
In the past year, Montanans have turned in several tons of unwanted or expired prescription drugs through events like these. Great Falls residents have the added convenience of having the nation’s first 24/7 Prescription Drug Drop-Off Box. If you are unavailable to make the April 28 event, bring your expired or unwanted prescription drugs by the Montana Highway Patrol location anytime to deposit them in the permanent secured box.
“With prescription drug abuse on the rise in our state, it is important to closely monitor medications in our homes and get rid of those drugs we no longer have a use for,” said Attorney General Steve Bullock. “By limiting easy access to drugs that are potentially dangerous when misused, we reduce the risk of accidental poisonings, illegal diversion and abuse in our community.”