Tennessee Considers Mandating Locking Caps On Powerful Prescription Drugs

Feb 5, 2019
Originally published on February 4, 2019 9:07 pm

Some prescription drugs in Tennessee may soon have to be dispensed in a lockable bottle.

Backers of the proposal, including parents of people killed due to opioid overdoses, said it would prevent teens of getting hooked on opioids.

Liz Beatty said when she brought her son, Alex, home in 1991, she and her husband did everything they could to make sure he was safe. 

“We locked up all of our medicines. We put plugs in all the electrical," Beatty told WPLN. "We never realized we needed to teen-proof our house.”

But Alex died of a drug overdose in 2016, and Beatty believes easy access to pills contributed to his death.

So she supports legislation by Sen. Richard Briggs (R-Knoxville) that would require powerful painkillers such as opioids, stimulants like Adderall and anxiety drugs like Xanax to be dispensed in a lockable bottle.

Pharmacies would set a four-digit combination code in the locking cap when they dispense those drugs.

“What we are really trying to do is just to keep the teenagers from taking and diverting the pills out of the medicine cabinet," Briggs said. "Because that’s where so much of the addiction starts — it’s in adolescence.”

Briggs said the state should consider any tool that could prevent deaths due to opioids.

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