Gov. John Bel Edwards calls on all Louisianans to responsibly dispose of their unused medications during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27. First responders, medical offices and businesses around the state will provide collection sites for people to drop off medications for safe disposal.

This national effort is held twice a year, gathering thousands of pounds of prescription drugs and helping to prevent drug abuse and misuse across the United States. The most recent Take Back Day, held October 16, 2018, resulted in 914,236 pounds of drugs dropped off at 5,839 collection sites, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Gov. Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health encourage Louisianans’ participation in Take Back Day to help support the State’s efforts to end its burgeoning opioid crisis.

“Take Back Day is just one approach of many in our State’s fight against opioids. It’s a battle with many stakeholders,” Gov. Edwards said. “That’s why, in conjunction with local health agencies throughout the state, the Louisiana Department of Health recently launched a public service campaign designed to help people find treatment in their communities.”

The Opioid Help LA awareness and education campaign aims to direct people with an opioid addiction and/or their families, friends and loved ones to appropriate treatment resources. A dedicated website has been established at that lists addiction and recovery resources, including those covered by Medicaid, and contact information. 

Additional strategies to reduce the impact of opioids in Louisiana:

  • Through legislation and changes in Medicaid policy, limits have been put in place on the number of days for opioid prescriptions and limited doses.
  • The Department of Health works with the Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Council to ensure statewide partners are included to address the opioid crisis, recognizing that all agencies in law enforcement, hospital settings, universities, professional organizations, youth-focused groups, parent groups, advocacy groups and community partners at all levels are critical partners.
  • Efforts to address prevention education and outreach have been made, providing referrals to treatment, providing evidence-based assessments to place clients into the appropriate level of care or recovery support services, and education on medication-assisted treatment.
  • Naloxone education and distribution are a top priority. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reduce opioid overdose and is available in Louisiana through a standing orderissued by Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee. The standing order allows participating pharmacists to dispense naloxone to people including caregivers, family and friends of an opioid user.
  • The Department of Health has issued a voluntary opioid refusal form through which Louisianans may pledge to refuse the offer or administration of opioid medications from their healthcare practitioner or attending physician. The form, which also must be signed by the healthcare practitioner and goes into the patient’s medical file, releases healthcare providers, their administration and personnel from responsibility for the consequences of the patient’s opioid refusal.

“The opioid epidemic is a top priority of Gov. Edwards, myself and the Louisiana Department of Health,” Gee said. “Helping to keep opioids off our streets and our homes can be as simple as dropping off unused and expired prescriptions at one of many statewide disposal sites during Take Back Day. Every one of us can help tackle Louisiana’s opioid crisis.”

To safely dispose of unused and expired medications:

  • Visit to find a safe collection site.
  • Drop off medications at any participating Walgreens or CVS location.
  • Order a free, safe disposal envelope from the National Safety Council at

Do not flush or throw away pills. Costco, CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies sell postage-paid envelopes for customers to mail any prescription, including opioids and over-the-counter medications, to a disposal facility.