• Tennessee law makers propose combination locks on pill bottles to fight opioid crisis

    By: Greg Coy

    Updated:

    Two state law makers in Nashville have proposed putting a combination lock on pill bottles to stop people from stealing opioids.  

    The thinking is an ordinary pill bottle is too easy open, and the drugs are too easy for someone to steal.

    The combination pill bottle adds another layer of protection and potentially stops someone from taking the first step to getting hooked.

    "It is simple. It is safe," said Turning Point Addiction Campuses CEO Ted Bender.  

    He believes a combination lock on top of pill bottles can help prevent new cases of opioid addiction. 

    Bender shared data that shows four out of five addicts start by experimenting, taking pills that don't belong them.  

    "A lot of time it starts right in our home, in our own medicine cabinet and this lockable pill bottle would prevent that from happening," said Bender.


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    Two state law makers have introduced legislation Monday called the "Pilfering Prevention Act" and its goal is to make this new type of pill container mandatory for any prescription opioids and stimulants.  

    "It will have a combination lock on it and the code will be given out by the pharmacy to the person it is prescribed too, and it will be a unique code," said Bender.

    Former addict, now Turning Point Addiction Campus counselor Ann Montgomery, said she started using pills at age 16.  

    Montgomery believes the idea of a lock might deter people from trying opioids because it would make them harder to get.   

    "If it is a beginner maybe so. If it is not, it is not going to stop them," said Montgomery.

    This proposed legislation is not new.  

    Lawmakers in states such as Michigan and Maryland introduced this legislation last year but didn't get any traction because of one of the issues was cost.  

    It can add to the cost of a prescription by as much as five dollars, warned the Maryland Pharmacist and Retailers Association.  

    Bender told FOX 13 the benefits outweigh the cost because: "That same person can grab that same bottle without that lock on it, take a few pills and that is all they need to get started with an addiction to opioids."

    Bender said if a person forgets the combination number they can call their pharmacist for help.

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