State Attorney General Jeff Landry has announced a drug prescription takeback box is now available 24 hours a day at the Baton Rouge Police Department. In making the announcement, Landry addressed the drug problem taxing the state. He says statistics show the problem may be related to recent Medicaid expansion, which made Louisiana the 31st state to do so in 2016.
"It's interesting when you look at the states that are leading in the amount of prescription abusers. You would find that they are states that have introduced Medicaid expansion."
He says once Medicaid expansion was approved, it opened the door to allow many more opioids to become available to anyone who wants them.
"When we put a program in place that automatically doubles the amount of free prescriptions available to people, it's literally like putting drugs on the street for free."
Landry hopes to be able to expand the prescription drug take back boxes to more places across the state. They have placed a few others along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and the Shreveport area. He says by teaming up with other law enforcement partners they are looking to take the program statewide.
"It's our goal to have one in every parish. As soon as we find a willing partner we'll place those boxes in those locales and put them up on the website."
That website address is endtheepidemicla.org. There are currently 41 boxes in 32 parishes. The Governor's Communications Director Richard Carbo disagrees with Landry's findings and says 14,000 people have already taken advantage of substance abuse treatment under Medicaid expansion.