Nielsen honored as ‘Good Citizen’

Published 4:30 am Saturday, October 27, 2018

Bill Nielsen was recently chosen the recipient of the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) 2018 Outstanding Citizen Award in recognition and appreciation of his support and commitment to Louisiana Partnership for Success and Drug Free Communities (DFC).

For many years, Nielsen has partnered with the Coalition and ADAPT, a local non-profit social serves agency, in an effort to provide services and prescription drug education to the citizens of Washington Parish.

According to Charlette Fornea, Executive Director of ADAPT, Nielsen has a history of community service and involvement. He agreed to work toward the establishment of a Drug Take-Back day five years ago, before WPCHS received the DFC grant. Nielsen is also remembered for the way he provided prescriptions to residents after Hurricane Katrina.

“It was the end of the month, people needed prescriptions filled and did not have access to cash because of the power outage and devastation to property,” Fornea said. “Bill provided needed medications to the public, trusting that reimbursement would come later.”

Last year, Nielsen’s Pharmacy, located at 1619 S. Columbia St. in Bogalusa, hosted the first Drug Take-Back Day in the parish. The Bogalusa Police Department collected 80 pounds of unwanted drugs in one day. Once again, Nielsen has agreed to host the location of the 2018 Drug Take-Back Day, which is scheduled for Saturday, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Citizens can bring their expired and unwanted prescription and over the counter drugs for disposal. Controlled and illegal drugs will be accepted with no questions asked. Liquids, injectable drugs or syringes cannot be accepted.

Major Percy Knight, Bogalusa Police Department (BPD), has also played a vital role in scheduling the Drug Take-Back Day in Bogalusa. Officers from the BPD will be on site to secure and handle the disposal of the drugs.

Knight stated that the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. The Take-Back Day event provides an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths by disposing of prescription drugs that are no longer needed.

The coalition strives to provide prevention education to the public concerning the opioid crisis that our parish is facing. Nielsen has been instrumental in distribution of informational brochures and flyers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 49,086 Americans died last year as a result of opioid overdoses. Prescription drugs should be monitored and secured by an adult and disposed of properly when no longer needed. It is recommended to keep opioid prescriptions in a lock box to keep them safe from children and others.

Family is important to Nielsen. He is married to Wendy Nielsen and they have two children — Sarah Nielsen, who works as a pharmacist in the family business, and Sadie Nielsen, who is enrolled in her last year of pharmacy school. Nielsen said that he was inspired by his father, the late Billy Nielsen, who was the founder of City Drug Store.

“Good can come out of every situation for those who have faith and believe,” said Nielsen, as he accepted the WPCHS 2018 Outstanding Citizen Award.

The WPCHS is a social service organization with the goal of improving the quality of life for citizens of Washington Parish. The Coalition provides a structure in which parents, law enforcement, religious groups, youth, media, youth-serving organizations, health care providers, local and state government, and other organizations can work together to coordinate ongoing efforts in Washington Parish. The coalition’s vision is enhancing the psycho-social-physical well-being of all individuals of Washington Parish through their life span. The mission is to support and promote community healthy systems. The coalition is a grantee recipient of Drug-Free Communities and Louisiana Partnerships for Success.

For more information, contact the ADAPT Office at 985-735-0160.