Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) is set to unveil a Prescription Drug Takeback Box in Jonesboro on Friday, February 18. This is being done as part of a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Jonesboro Police Department and is another opportunity for NEDHSA to provide further service following a recent Rise Above Stigma town hall with parish residents. NEDHSA’s Rise Above Stigma initiative aims to help increase access to behavioral health support services, provide mental health awareness, and offer other culturally and linguistically appropriate training for the twelve-parish communities in northeast Louisiana.
The dropbox was purchased by NEDHSA and will be located at 100 Fourth Street, Jonesboro, LA 71251, with 24/7 security. Anyone can put unwanted medications in the dropbox with no questions asked. The contents are collected and destroyed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said medication dropbox initiatives have proven to be an “effective weapon in helping to combat the opioid crisis and ultimately help people overcome the stigma they have towards behavioral and primary health services.”
“Studies show that many people store their controlled prescriptions, which plays a significant factor in contributing to misuse and abuse,” Dr. Sizer said. “Dropbox placements throughout the community with 24/7 access, in conjunction with the outreach education from our Prevention and Wellness Department, allows for immediate disposal, drastically reducing the opportunity for misuse and abuse within the home and community at large.”
Dr. Sizer said helping keep our communities safe by disposing of unwanted, unused, or expired medications is just one of many ways NEDHSA is “working to break the cycle of addiction and substance use disorder that plagues our region.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 841,000 prescription drug overdoses have occurred in the United States since 1999.
Jonesboro Police Department Chief Dr. J. Spike Harris said the police department’s relationship with NEDHSA is a valuable asset to assist with prescription drug overdoses and added that “partnering with NEDHSA as a part of our community policing initiative to assist in this war on prescription medication misuse and overdoses is invaluable.”
“We hope to increase awareness throughout our community and surrounding areas of the dangers of prescription medications,” Dr. Harris said. “We understand that many of us may have unused medications in our homes that should be discarded. Educating the community and giving our citizens a convenient location to discard unused prescribed medications will allow the Jonesboro Police Department to do our part to lower the overall national average of overdoses using prescribed medications.”
In December, NEDHSA hosted two town halls as part of its Rise Above Stigma work, and in those meetings, it was realized that many were not aware of the agency’s resources and how to access them. Dr. Sizer said the information that the community spoke of is one of the reasons the takeback box is in Jonesboro.
“We took the information shared by Jackson Parish residents and turned it into action.” Dr. Sizer said. “In addition to the dropbox, we’re reintroducing them to our resources, clinical services, and technology, such as our mobile app and our 24/7/365 crisis hotline that they can dial at any time – day or night. We also have prevention and wellness programs operating in the parish, and will soon have our mobile health unit there providing mental health, addiction, and primary health care screenings.”