Tamper-Resistant Pill Bottles Grow In Popularity Amid Opioid Epidemic

By Victoria Kim 04/07/17

A new wave of anti-opioid abuse devices are helping opioid users keep their potentially addictive medicine secure. 

Man attempting to open child-proof prescription pill bottle.

More children are ending up in the hospital for opioid poisoning—from pills they found at home in the family’s medicine cabinets. 

OxyContin and Vicodin are now household names. “Opioids are ubiquitous now,” said Yale researcher Julie Gaither, whose study found that the rate of kids hospitalized for opioids rose 165% from 1997 to 2012. “Enough opioids are prescribed every year to put a bottle of painkillers in every household.”

This has inevitably opened up the market for tamper-proof pill boxes and other methods of storing medication. It’s no longer enough that medications come in child-proof packaging. 

There’s the Med-O-Wheel SECURE, a locked pill box that dispenses the proper dose of medication at designated times. 

This week, WAFB of Baton Rouge spoke to the CEO of TimerCap, a prescription pill bottle cap with a built-in timer that resets every time the bottle is opened. 

It’s about time the prescription bottle got a reboot, says Twersky. He told WAFB that his device is a good way of keeping friends and family members accountable, says CEO Larry Twersky. 

Right now the TimerCap is available in most Rite Aid and CVS stores for about $10, but Twersky hopes to get his special cap on all prescription medication bottles.

According to the CDC, most people who abuse prescription opioids get them from a friend or family member. Most are given, while others buy or steal them from loved ones’ medicine cabinets.

Abuse of these drugs has risen alongside sales of prescription opioids, which has nearly quadrupled since 1999, according to the CDC. Deaths from overdosing on these painkillers “increased similarly” in the same time period.

Another anti-opioid abuse device is the Safer Lock, a pill bottle that has a four-digit combination lock built into the cap. It was developed by Joe Simpson, whose own brother, Stephen, fell victim to opioid addiction after being introduced to prescription painkillers in high school.

It’s the same old story. Stephen tried oxycodone pills that belonged to his friend’s mother, then eventually got into his mother’s stash at home. His habit grew until he couldn’t get his hands on enough pills, then he turned to the cheaper alternative: heroin.

“All these pills need to be locked up, I mean, it’s the gateway to heroin,” he said. His brother Joe hopes Safer Lock will prevent others from accessing that first dose.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr