Police add new weapon in battle against opioid epidemic

Police add new weapon in battle against opioid epidemic

The number of deaths caused by drug overdoses across the country every day has surpassed the number of people killed in car crashes.

Louisiana police departments are working to change that by giving people a chance to get rid of those pills anonymously.

This weekend, Covington Police Officer Nick Greaver saw firsthand the despair of an overdose call. Thankfully, it was followed by the relief of a gasp for air after two doses of Narcan saved the victim’s life.

“It’s a very interesting experience,” Greaver said. “You’re not used to seeing that… somebody normally in that situation, there’s only one outcome.”

On Sept. 20, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined Greaver’s boss, Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz, and several other police chiefs from the north shore to announce another initiative to prevent overdose deaths and help people struggling with opioid addiction.

“The ability to impact this epidemic is going to come from multi-dimensional endeavors and, believe you me, these gentlemen and their officers are seeing this epidemic every day on our streets,” Landry said.

This new weapon comes in the form of a large metal box, meant to be an anonymous way for the community to drop off un-used or old prescription drugs, as opposed to throwing them in the trash to be picked up by someone else, or flushing them down toilets, which puts the chemicals from the drugs in our water systems. They’re touted as a year-round way to keep pills away from curious children, experimental teens and desperate users. It also keeps pills from being disposed in a way that could contaminate the environment.

“Each and every day we get calls from residents in our community, here in our parish, that have unused medications,” St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith said. “They have prescription medications, drugs that have accumulated, like we all do in our medicine cabinets or in our house, and we need a way to dispose of them.”

Communities that already have the drop boxes say they’ve worked wonders.

“Whether its accidental poisoning by a young person or potential abuse by an older person, these boxes are worth their way in gold,” Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker said.

There will be dozens of these drop boxes at police headquarters across Louisiana soon. The goal is to have them all in place for the next annual drug take-back day at the end of October.

Here's a list of local locations:

  • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Complex, 2070 Collins Blvd., Covington, LA 70433
  • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office Administrative Building, 300 Brownswitch Rd., Slidell, LA 70458
  • Hammond Police Department, 120 South Oak St., Hammond, LA 70404
  • Slidell Police Department, 2112 Sgt. Alfred Dr., Slidell, LA 70458
  • Covington Police Department, 609 N. Columbia St., Covington, LA 70433
  • Mandeville Police Department, 1870 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, LA 70448

© 2017 WWL-TV


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