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Apr 30, 2011 7:27 PM by Drew Trafton ~ KTVQ News

Prescription 'Take Back' a big success in Billings

BILLINGS - Across the country today, the Drug Enforcement Administration held its 2nd annual ‘Take Back Initiative Day' where people were able to drop off unused prescription drugs at designated drop off sites.

Here in Montana, there were 30 different locations to drop off your old prescriptions.

In Billings the drop-off location was the Rimrock Mall parking lot, where all residents had to do was pull up to the curb and hand off their drugs to Billings Police Department volunteers-no questions asked.

And although the volunteers were cheery while dumping the pills, powders and other substances into dumpsters- law enforcement has been very serious about taking prescription drugs off the streets of Billings.

"It's the number one problem not only in the United States of America right now, but also in the state of Montana right now," said Assistant Special Agent in charge of the DEA field office in Denver David Schiller. "It's the 2nd most abused drug after marijuana."

However, prescriptions not only rank first in use-- but also in a category law enforcement takes very seriously.

"There's more deaths attributed to prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine combined," said Schiller.

According to the DEA-- 300 of those deaths come from prescription drug abuse in the state of Montana.

At Saturday's take back in Billings, 246lbs. of prescription drugs were poured into dumpsters before they were incinerated.

Special agent Schiller says incineration is the only proper way to dispose of the drugs.

"You don't want to flush them down the toilet, you don't want to put them in the sink and you don't want to put them in the trash," said Schiller. "They're contaminating our water sources and they're also accessible to other individuals who are trying to use prescription drugs which aren't medically prescribed for them."

At last year's "Take Back" event, there was a half ton of drugs collected across the state-- which contributed to the 120 tons collected nationally.

If you didn't get a chance to drop off your prescription drugs today, the Billings Police Department will hold a similar event in June where you will be able to drop off old prescriptions.

We'll keep you posted on this event right here on ktvq.com.

Click here to see where all 30 drop-off locations were in Montana.

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