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Bill would require lockable vials for prescription opioids

Melissa Benmark
Michigan Radio

Prescription opioids and other addictive medications would have to be dispensed in lockable vials under legislation that was introduced yesterday in the Michigan House. 

The goal of the bill is to deter young people from sneaking small numbers of pills from bottles they find in their homes or the homes of friends.

According to State Rep. Joseph Bellino, (R-Monroe) the bill's sponsor, pilfering is a leading source of youth opioid abuse and addiction.

"As an addict, as a person who has snuck marijuana, who has snuck cigarettes, who has snuck alcohol, I know that I went to the easiest, softest way to get my drug," said Bellino, "and the easiest, softest way for kids today is in a medicine cabinet."

"I don't want a 12 year-old to go into grandma's medicine cabinet and take two oxycontin and then figure out, 'Oh what a great feeling I had,'" Bellino said.

Under the bill, the locked bottle tops could be opened only with a combination code or biometric recognition system.

The Michigan Pharmacists Association opposes the legislation.

Larry Wagenknecht, the group's CEO, says mandating a lockable cap would add to the cost of pain medication, and would be ineffective since the bottle could be stolen or smashed, and the special cap would draw attention to the opioid contents.

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