The event's goal is to "provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications", according to officials. The service is free and anonymous. "The majority of these accidental poisonings generally come from the medicine cabinets in our homes - the drugs we no longer need or have even forgotten are there".
The annual prescription drug take-back project is set for 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Billings Elks Lodge, 934 Lewis Ave.
Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them away creates a potential safety and health hazard, officials say.
Last year, about 600 pounds of prescription drugs was collected.
"Getting prescription drugs out of people's homes keeps kids and other people from getting their hands on them", Sheriff Gene Fischer said.
"We're absolutely in the middle of a public health epidemic with opioids", said Katherine Neale, Follow Our Lead program director. "Rates of prescription drug abuse in the USA are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs".
Expired, unused, and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines will be accepted.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office has permanent drug take-back boxes at both of the locations, an ongoing effort in partnership with Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisian, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators and law enforcement agencies.