BATON ROUGE – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes National Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 24 to promote prescription drug safety and raise awareness about the importance of proper disposal of expired, unused or leftover drugs.
While the official Drug Take Back Day is important to raise awareness, Louisianians have a way to get rid of medication safely year-round, through a partnership among Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and law enforcement offices throughout the state. Through this partnership, drug drop boxes are available in multiple parishes statewide.
“It’s easy to forget that the prescriptions sitting in our medicine cabinets can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs when they fall into the wrong hands,” said Blue Cross Senior Medical Director Dr. Dee Barfield. “With the COVID-19 pandemic and people spending more time in their homes, it’s very important to be aware of what drugs we have, keep them secure so children, pets and others can’t get to them, and then safely get rid of any leftover medication when we are finished taking it.”
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state will host socially distanced and drive-through dropoff events for Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 24. Check the DEA’s website for events in your area.
If you cannot do a dropoff on Oct. 24, you can use the drug drop boxes at any time. See www.bcbsla.com/safedrugdrop for a map of locations. 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.
Blue Cross drug safety experts recently hosted a Facebook Live event to talk about how to get rid of prescription drugs properly. You can watch a video of that event on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel.
Red Ribbon Week
Drug Take Back Day coincides with Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31), which raises awareness about drug prevention in schools. “Studies show that many high school students experiment with drugs for the first time by taking medications they find in their homes,” Dr. Barfield said. “We can prevent abuse, misuse and overdose by getting rid of our unused and expired drugs.”
National Pharmacy Week
In another observance, the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists designated National Pharmacy Week as Oct. 18-24. Blue Cross employs a dedicated team of 10 pharmacists, pharmaceutical analysts and other staff members. Blue Cross’ pharmacy staff have long been leaders in providing and managing pharmacy benefits that support safe, effective and cost-conscious medication use to treat members’ health problems. Blue Cross is honored to acknowledge the valuable services of all pharmacists who help Louisiana patients—including its insured members—make the best use of their medicines.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana members 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.
Blue Cross members also have free access to Shatterproof’s innovative Just Five program, which delivers five-minute online lessons on important concepts and facts regarding addiction. Blue Cross members can access this confidential and voluntary program at www.justfive.org/bcbsla.
For more information on National Drug Take Back Day, visit the DEA’s website.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos with the clinical team and others discussing drug safety and various health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates.
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. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 and 2020 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.