A new law was signed today in Illinois, and it’s going to get us one step closer to helping families prevent prescription pill addiction.
House Bill 3219 is the first legislation of its kind, and requires locking combination caps to be placed on opioid pharmaceutical prescription bottles.
The one-year pilot program takes effect January 1st, 2016, and hopes to save lives by creating an extra layer of security for prescription painkillers.
Prescription drug abuse is a real problem facing Americans today.
- 52 million people in the US over the age of 12 have misused prescription drugs.
- 24% of high school students (1 out of 4) admits to misusing a prescription drug.
- Prescription drug overdose rates have tripled in the US since 1990.
- Prescription painkillers are responsible for 3 out of 4 drug overdoses.
By creating an extra layer of security on the bottle itself, legislators hope to help prevent prescription drug use, abuse, and overdose.
“This program is all about helping people who are caught in the stranglehold of painkiller abuse. If this program saves just one life, it’s worth it,” said Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), who co-sponsored the bill.
How Does a Cap Help Prevent Prescription Abuse?
A locking pill bottle cap with combination lock makes it harder for other people to get to prescriptions that are not intended for them. Without knowing the combination, no one can access the prescription inside the bottle. This can be an effective deterrent that can help keep the prescription safely in the hands of the person it was intended for.
Teens who are looking to experiment or misuse prescription pills are most likely to get them from a medicine cabinet in their own home, or from a friend who has access to an unsecured bottle.
By limiting access to the prescription, it helps deter teens from getting to pills that can lead to addiction, injury, and overdose.
The locking cap will also protect young children from accidental poisonings.
In the state of Illinois, people will be safer as a result of this innovative legislation.
Co-sponsors Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside), Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) and Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) have a lot to be proud of for their efforts to make a difference in the prescription drug abuse epidemic affecting not only their state, but the entire country.
Hopefully, the success of this law will encourage other states to follow the example of Illinois.