BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - National Drug Take Back Day came to Louisiana today as several people chose to hand over their unused medication to law enforcement so it can be disposed of properly.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana partnered with Louisiana State Police in Baton Rouge at Troop A headquarters from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Despite the rain more than 60 people showed up to hand over their unwanted medication.
"We had who knows how many pounds of pills that people have taken out of their homes and are going to be disposed of safely," said Robin Mayhall.
Mayhall was one of several Blue Cross Blue and Blue Shield volunteers who spent the day collecting pills and other prescription drugs as part of the national event.
The program happens twice a year, offering an anonymous and no questions asked opportunity for people to clean out their medicine cabinets and prevent expired drugs from falling into the wrong hands.
"Even if small children don't get hold of it unfortunately teenagers will experiment with the medications that they find in their parents or their grandparents' home," Mayhall added.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, more than 70,000 emergency room visits are a result of medication accidents by children under the age of 18. More than 80 percent of those visits among children under 12-years-old are due to children taking medications on their own, unsupervised.
Mayhall said the most common way people use to try and get rid of unwanted medication is to flush it down the toilet or simply throw it away but doing so may not be the best option.
"Thieves will go through your trash and find the bottles and use that for identity theft purposes umm even addicts will sometimes go through the trash and find old pills that they might be able to use or sell," she said.
As far as the other option, flushing the pills could contaminate groundwater which could potentially hurt others.
"So it's just really important to clean that medication out and get rid of it safely," Mayhall added.
Saturday's event marked the eighth Drug Take Back Day nationwide.