Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) is set to unveil a Prescription Drug Takeback Box in Richwood on Wednesday, March 2. This is being done as part of a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Town of Richwood through the agency’s Louisiana State Opioid Response (LaSOR) grant.
The dropbox was purchased by NEDHSA and will be located at 2710 Martin Luther King Drive, Richwood, La. 71202, 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.
Town of Richwood Mayor Gerald Brown said he looks for this relationship to provide a simple and safe drug deactivation program for “our community and perhaps be the launching point for more partnerships and programs between our two entities.”
“My hope is that a takeback box will help citizens easily rid their homes of unneeded medications—those that are old, unwanted, or no longer needed—that too often become a gateway to addiction,” Brown said.
The relationship between NEDHSA and the Town of Richwood has grown through the years as the agency has provided evidence-based prevention services to the middle school and introduced its Generation Rx program to the town. NEDHSA’s LaSOR team has also facilitated Narcan training and distribution with the Richwood Police Department, and the dropbox placement is another step towards combating the opioid epidemic.
NEDHSA is also using this as another opportunity for the agency 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.
In December, NEDHSA hosted town halls in Region 8 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 Richwood.
“We took the information 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.”