Montana’s acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson spoke to KGVO News on Thursday about the fact that this Saturday, April 24, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Johnson said it’s the job of the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute drug crimes.

“We in the Department of Justice have the responsibility to prosecute all manner of drug crimes and we are seeing in Montana more and more opioid trafficking and opioid abuse that leads to drug crimes,” said Johnson. “One of the ways in which folks become hooked and begin abusing these drugs starts at home in the medicine cabinet.”

Johnson said his department cooperates with the Drug Enforcement Agency in fighting the abuse of prescription and opioid drugs.

“The Department of Justice in conjunction with the DEA has worked together to get people to bring in their leftover or unused prescription drugs, whether they're narcotics or not, because they can be dangerous to innocent people, children and they can be harmful to the environment if they're not disposed of properly,” he said.

Johnson said the annual national take back day has been successful in helping bring down prescription drug abuse.

“It is working well nationwide,” he said.  “They've seen great increases in the amount of unused drugs that have been discarded this way, so the take back day is an important way to remind the public that there are these sites and they are secure and that they will result in the proper disposal of these drugs.”

Johnson reiterated the fact that disposing of unused prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet can be damaging to the environment.

“Most people don't recognize about these things,” he said. “They think they're just harmless. They're actually very harmful to the environment to release prescription chemicals, particularly in the waterways where they affect the health of drinking water and rivers and streams. Many of these chemicals are harmful if they get into the environment and it's best for everyone if they're properly disposed of.”

Find out where to properly dispose of your unused prescription drugs here.

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