SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – A simple device designed to protect you from medication mistakes is also being used as a tool to combat the opioid epidemic.
The Timer Cap replaces regular caps on medication bottles. Its digital stopwatch allows people to track when their medications were last opened.
The South Kingstown Partnership for Prevention has handed out almost 500 Timer Caps.
“This is something that can tell you right away when the last time you opened your bottle,” SKPP coordinator Heidi Driscoll explained.
The Timer Cap also tells you if someone else opened your medication.
“We don’t want to think that somebody is in our house roaming through our medicine cabinets but the reality is, it could happen very easily,” Driscoll said. “With the current situation with the opioid crisis and the heroin epidemic that is going on, you can’t keep medications not safeguarded.”
The Timer Cap may also help prevent medication mistakes.
According to a new study, the rate of serious medication errors – people taking the wrong dose or the wrong medication all together – doubled between 2000 and 2012.
“The biggest problem we still have is patients taking these highly complex medications out of the bottle, putting them in their mouths at the right time when the doctor wants them to,” said CVS pharmacist Jeremy Blais. “That’s actually responsible for about 40% of preventable admissions each year.”
Timer Caps are sold at CVS, RiteAid and online.
“It’s just one tool,” Blais said. “It’s just important that they [consumers] come up with a system that works for them.”