LA: Officials announce new drug take-back program in Iberia Parish

LA: Officials announce new drug take-back program in Iberia Parish

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry was on hand Tuesday morning to help announce a new drug take-back box that Iberia Parish residents can use to get rid of old or unneeded opioids, joining the residents of 57 other parishes with similar programs.

“We have done something which allows for every citizen in our state to do their part,” Landry said. “Because statistics show that more than half of patients prescribed opioid painkillers have or expect to have extra pills left over and that 60 percent of opioid misusers begin their addictions by taking the prescriptions of others, we have placed drug take back boxes in sheriff’s offices and police departments throughout Louisiana.”

The take-back box that will be placed in Iberia Parish is a joint effort between Landry’s office, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators.

“The box is available to residents of Iberia Parish at the (IPSO) Patrol Division office,” Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero said. “It takes us and the general public to keep these drugs away from teens and young children who might be thinking of experimenting with these dangerous drugs.”

According to Monica Taylor, a representative of Landry’s office, there are currently 72 of those boxes around the state in 57 parishes.

“Most of those were put in place with a federal grant in 2015,” Taylor said. “This is a new partnership with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.”

Lamdry said that the opioid addiction issue in Louisiana is not just a political talking point. He said the problem is a deadly one that has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is no secret that there has been an opioid epidemic sweeping across our state and nation, and while deaths were already increasing prior to COVID-19, the numbers show an acceleration of overdoses since the first stay-at-home orders,” Landry said. “From July 2019 to July 2020, according to data from the CDC, more than 1,700 Louisianans died from overdoses. Our state’s total is 53 percent more than the number that died during the same time period the year before, a spike twice as steep as the national average.”
Kandyce Cowart, manager of federal investigations for Blue Cross, said that the goal is to make these take-back opportunities available to anyone in Louisiana who has old prescription drugs that they need to discard.

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