According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers every year. That’s more than the number of cocaine and heroin overdoses put together. What can be done to prevent more deaths from prescription painkiller misuse? A group of engineering students at Brigham Young University came up with a solution.
The invention is called Med Vault and it’s designed to replace the standard pill bottle. The device is tamper-proof. It’s connected to a computer when a pharmacist loads it. Then he or she programs the doctor’s orders so the Med Vault can dispense its contents on a schedule.
Med Vault is equipped with a password protected system, so a child or someone other than the patient won’t have access to the pills. Even though Med Vault cannot be broken, it can still sustain damage. It can be used for refills, so if the pharmacist notices dents or other signs of tampering, it would raise a red flag for drug abuse.
What About Other Drugs?
The invention of Med Vault may have people thinking: Can other drugs be electronically dispensed in the future? This probably won’t happen for emergency medicine. If you need nitroglycerin for chest pain, using this kind of prescription bottle is a risk. If it malfunctions, that critical pill may not be released.
What do you think of electronic pill dispensing? Would it help chronic pain patients avoid addiction? Share your thoughts below or on our Lakeview Heath System’s Facebook page.
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