BATON ROUGE – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes National Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 27, to promote prescription drug safety and raise awareness about the importance of proper disposal of expired, unused or leftover drugs in preventing abuse and misuse.
While the day is important to raise awareness, Louisianians have a way to safely get rid of medication year-round, through a partnership among Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and law enforcement offices throughout the state to install drug drop boxes in multiple parishes.
The boxes are securely installed, typically housed within law enforcement agencies, and available 24/7. All turn-ins are anonymous; no questions will be asked. A list of all drug drop box locations is online at www.bcbsla.com/safedrugdrop.
“Our drug take back box initiative has proven to be a great resource for citizens across Louisiana. These easy-to-use drop boxes allow our state’s people to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring their unused and unnecessary drugs to a secure location,” said Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. “Research has shown that the majority of opioid misusers begin their addictions by taking prescriptions that were not theirs. So we are proud to work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and law enforcement agencies across our state to keep these dangerous drugs out of the wrong hands.”
Drug Take Back Day coincides with Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31), which raises awareness about drug prevention in schools. Both of these are an opportunity to address the opioid epidemic in Louisiana, one of eight states where there are more prescriptions for opioid drugs than there are state residents. Louisiana’s drug overdose rate is also higher than the national average.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of opioid overdose deaths nationally happen to someone who is taking these drugs by prescription for pain relief – drugs like OxyContin®, Vicodin®, Percocet® and morphine. Leaving such drugs in homes also makes it more likely they could be stolen or accidentally consumed by children or pets in the household.
“Blue Cross is committed to improving the health and lives of people in Louisiana, and as such, we are doing what we can to lower Louisianians’ risks of abuse disorders, overdose and death,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation president. “With the support of Attorney General Landry’s office and law enforcement agencies in parishes across Louisiana, along with funding we’ve provided, we’re proud that we’ve been able to increase access to safe drug disposal options for more state residents.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana customers who want information about drug or alcohol treatment for themselves or family members covered on their plans can call the 24/7 Substance Use Member Hotline at 1-877-326-2458 to speak with a clinical professional. The hotline is operated by New Directions, an independent vendor that provides behavioral health services for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and its subsidiaries.
For more information on the opioid epidemic and how you can lower your risk, visit www.EndtheEpidemicLA.org.
For more information on National Drug Take Back Day, visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. We invest both time and money in the communities we serve, supporting the health and wellbeing of Louisianians through more than 200 charitable organizations.
With our subsidiaries, HMO Louisiana and Southern National Life, we provide group and individual health insurance plans, life and disability insurance, group voluntary products and administrative services to one out of four Louisiana residents. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also provides Medicare supplement and Medicare Advantage plans and is a partner in offering the Healthy Blue Medicaid Managed care plan. Louisiana is the only state where we operate, with offices in every major region to serve our customers.
Founded in New Orleans in 1934, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is a tax-paying non-profit health insurer. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.