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Montana National Guard holds drug takeback event at Fort Harrison

Posted at 7:11 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 12:27:42-04

HELENA — The Montana National Guard is working to bring more attention to the importance of safely disposing of all prescription medications.

On Thursday, the Guard’s Counterdrug Joint Task Force partnered with the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office to hold a drug takeback event at Fort Harrison. Service members, their families and others were able to bring in expired prescription medications so they could be safely incinerated.

Task force members also handed out information about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, along with home kits that can be used to dispose of medications.

National Guard leaders said this was the first time they had held this type of event at the fort.

“We support the National Drug Take Back Day throughout the communities across Montana,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ed Warner, a senior analyst with the joint task force. “This is taking it to the next level, using the resources we have at the fort.”

Leaders said they are committed to addressing potential abuse of prescription drugs, and having a collection event on-site brings additional visibility to the issue.

“This is a great opportunity for us to help educate our servicemembers and their family members as well, and members of the community,” Warner said. “It brings up the discussion and the conversation of what the threat is out there and the safe way to dispose and handle this.”

The National Guard has Counterdrug Task Forces in each of its 54 states and territories. They work with local law enforcement partners to disrupt illicit drugs and promote drug-free living.

Montana counterdrug coordinator Maj. Daniela Ragen said they were proud to take on this mission.

“Our citizen Soldiers get another opportunity of discarding of their unused or expired prescription medicine in an environmentally safe way while potentially preventing the abuse of these substances by their family members or others with access to their medicine cabinets,” she said.

This event came after the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office collected more than 190 pounds of medication last weekend on National Drug Take Back Day. Sheriff Leo Dutton said that was one of the most successful takeback events they have held.