Up in smoke: Burning is often used to destroy unneeded drug evidence, but methods, rules vary

Law enforcement agencies around the country seize and store cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs as evidence and then face a sometimes tricky task: How do you get rid of it all?

Authorities often use incineration, but they say where and how varies and can be difficult to arrange. They say it's been done at hospital or government incinerators, crematories, foundries, specialized businesses or even in burn barrels.

The applicable local regulations vary from place to place, leaving it up to evidence managers to figure out what is permitted in their areas.

For years, Ohio's highway patrol destroyed seized drugs for free at factories where the containers were placed into molten steel and disintegrated. To have a reliable drug destroyer, troopers switched last year to using a paid contractor.