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Sacramento, CA February 25, 2020 – On February 19, 2020, Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana) introduced Senate Bill 1084, the California Safe Dispensing Act, which is intended to help prevent the pilfering of powerful opioid prescription medications. Unchecked access to prescription pain medications often sets the stage for addiction, which continues to devastate families and communities across the nation.

SB 1084 would require a pharmacist who dispenses a controlled substance, as defined by Schedules II and IIN of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, to dispense it with a lockable vial. As written, SB 1084 would apply specifically to prescriptions of narcotic painkillers including oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, morphine, and codeine.

Kim Box, CEO of Gatekeeper Innovation, Inc., commended Senator Umberg for taking this action to reduce inappropriate access to powerful medications. “SB 1084 calls for a long-overdue change in the way we manage powerful medications, starting at the pharmacy counter. The antiquated child-resistant prescription vials currently in use were designed almost 50 years ago. They have proven to be ineffective roadblocks to the misuse of powerful medications including prescription pain management medications that are 80 times stronger than morphine. Because opioid misuse and abuse often begins with the undetected pilfering of pain pills, this critical legislation will help stop addiction before it starts.”

Statistics from Senator Umberg’s office illustrate the depth of the problem – and the potential impact of lockable vial packaging:

  • Studies show that each year nearly 600,000 children from across the country between the ages of 12 and 17 initiate prescription drug abuse by pilfering medication from an adult in their home.
  • Nearly 5,000 children younger than 6 years old are evaluated annually in emergency departments for opioid exposures. According to national studies, nearly 9,000 children and adolescents died between 1999 and 2016 from prescription and illicit opioid poisonings – an increased mortality rate of 268%.

SB 1084 will likely be heard in the California State Senate in mid/late March.