ORLANDO, Fla. - A pill packet complete with a cellular "Black Box" will soon be used in Central Florida pharmacies to track when and where you take your prescription pills.
The device is called Divert-X and it has caught the attention of investors in California and Florida.
"Instead of a bottle with stickers we're building a system that's assembled at the pharmacy by the pharmacist with the medications that they have in stock" says Jim Harris, PHD, developer of the Divert-X system.
Harris, a former FDA regulator, says more people die as a result of prescription pill overdose than lose their lives in car accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the annual overdose rate is on the rise, currently estimated to be 30,000 deaths every year.
Harris says his device will hold 64 pills and although the applications are endless the prime objective is to stop the run on prescription pills ending up on the street.
"No one is truly in charge of where these medications go after they leave the pharmacy," Harris said. "That's why this has turned into such a large national emergency."
The device sends real time data to the company's cloud. Pharmacies and physicians will have instant access to the information.
Divert-X has caught the eye of a "major insurance company" and according to Harris the company is interested in testing the pill packet system in Central Florida within the next 18 months.
Sharon Blair, a long time advocate for drug intervention, lost her 29-year-old daughter to a prescription drug overdose four years ago.
Blair has been fighting for support from state lawmakers for the Jennifer Act, named in honor of her daughter Jennifer Reynolds.
Senate Bill 914 and House Bill 1181 would provide help by providing involuntary substance abuse treatment services.
"One day the grief will stop and maybe it will be when the bill passes," Blair said.
Blair supports the Divert-X system arguing it could save lives by catching abuse early.
Blair argues pharmaceutical companies are producing "mass quantities of opiates, Oxycodone, Oxycontin and Xanex. "
"The tracking system is going to cut back on so much abuse so much of the distribution," she said.
Harris is aware of what he calls the "Big Brother" concern and argues the data being gathered is not intrusive since anyone using opiates or pain killers is already tracked on paper.
"Big Brother is already watching," Harris said, "…we're not focusing on the people or the paperwork or the names we're focusing on the medications themselves."
For more information on the device go to: www.divert-x.com.
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