Mother Fights to Make Lockable Rx Bottles the New Norm
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
One mother is making it her mission to make it harder for teens to pilfer prescription drugs.
Seventy-percent of teens get their prescription drugs from family and friends, according to a study by the Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA), yet fewer parents report safeguarding prescription medications.
In that same DEA study, the number of teens that said “anyone can access prescription medicines in the medicine cabinet,” went from 50 percent in 2010 to 64 percent in 2011, meaning medications are available to anyone in their homes.
One of the places teens first access these addictive, prescription drugs is their family's medicine cabinet.
A “lockable" pill bottle works the same as any combination lock, with a set of four numbers you have to correctly line up to be able to open the bottle.
Betty Mason knows the pain of losing a child to opioid abuse and she believes these bottles can end up saving lives.
“We got the phone call at 3 o’clock in the morning," Mason said. "It was the last and most dreaded phone call you'll ever get."
Her 19-year-old daughter, Kathryn, died in May 2016 after a six-year struggle with opioid addiction.
Kathryn was once a talented athlete and equestrian.
“It's a hard thing to watch your child's personality slip away from you, and see this disease take over and take everything away from them," Mason said.
Mason is now working to fight her daughter's killer, recently meeting with lawmakers about possible legislation that would require prescriptions come to patients in a lockable container.
The Pilfering Prevention Act is designed to try and prevent easy access to Schedule II prescription medications.
“I know this isn't going to solve everything," Mason explained. "It's not going to stop a hardcore drug addict, but it can prevent [addiction] and allow parents to [uncover] some other issues that might be going on with their children."
It has been nearly 50 years since Congress passed the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, which required the childproof bottles used today.
“if a child can walk, they can get to a prescription bottle," Mason said. "These (bottles) are not childproof. Kids are much smarter now and they can get into anything like that."
Dr. Sterling Haring at Vanderbilt University Medical Center says they are targeting a larger population now than they were 50 years ago, and that these lockable pill bottles are a fantastic next step.
Sterling says he looks forward to speaking with lawmakers in committee and believes this has enough merit to move forward.