About 60% of people who are addicted to opioids in the United States started by using someone else's prescription medication, and Louisiana is one of eight states that has more opioid prescriptions than residents.
Those are two stats Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry shared during a Monday news conference in Broussard to demonstrate the need for prescription drop boxes like the one at the city's Police Department.
"We recognize these statistics," Landry said. "We recognize the dangers. And we began partnerships over the last couple of years of this administration to do our part."
There has been a prescription drop box at the Broussard Police Department for about six months now.
It is one of about 70 drop boxes in the state and the second for Lafayette Parish — another was placed at the Sheriff's Office in 2017.
"No city in America is immune to this epidemic," said Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque after the event. "The attorney general was looking for a place to do the press conference, and I think Broussard was a good place to highlight this program."
The drop boxes, which cost about $850 each, are paid for through a Blue Cross Blue Shield grant awarded to the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, which offers pharmaceutical drug abuse training and education to law enforcement agencies.
Dr. Lawrence Simon, medical director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, said these drop boxes are having a "profound impact" on Louisiana.
"The expansion to Broussard is just really exciting," Simon said. "It really means a lot."
The Broussard Police Department has collected and disposed of more than 500 pounds of unwanted medications since 2012 through prescription drop-off days, according to Police Chief Brannon Decou.
The drop box will serve as an extension of that service. Prescriptions collected during drop-off days and through the drop boxes are turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be destroyed.
"Come in. Drop it off. No questions asked. Walk right out," Decou said. "Help us help you protect the children and people of Broussard and the surrounding area."
Prescriptions can be dropped off between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily at the Broussard Police Department, 414 E. Main St. Learn more about the drop boxes and other programs addressing opioid abuse at endtheepidemicla.org.