Tech company partners with organization to prevent drug diversion

As seen in Addiction Now

By Cesar Gamboa

Solo Technology Holdings, LLC, developers of iKeyp, a smartphone-enabled safe designed to prevent the theft and abuse of prescription drugs, has teamed up with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in a three-month campaign to promote safeguarding prescription drugs.

”We know that about 70 percent of kids who begin to abuse prescription medication get these medications from the medicine cabinet,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, “We’re very focused on making sure the general public is aware of this so that they can dispose of unneeded meds, and store and secure medications that they still have a medical need for on an ongoing basis.”

In 2012 alone, physicians approved 259 million opioid prescriptions, enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of pills, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The economic damage in relation to drug abuse in the U.S. was estimated to $193 billion in 2007, and prescription drug abuse and diversion cost private and medical insurance companies roughly $72.5 billion a year.

Every day, 2,500 children ages 12 to 17 abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time,according to a 2014 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and 4 in 5 new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers, according to the American Society of Addiction and Medicine (ASAM).

Prescription medication abuse has been officially referred to as a national epidemic by the CDC, a term they do not use lightly, Taylor said.

Spreading the word 

The new campaign with iKeyp is a part of the Medicine Abuse Project and its “Mind Your Meds” message, which was launched in 2012 by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The project is focused on ending medicine abuse by encouraging communities to take a pledge to safeguard their prescription drugs and speak to their families about drug abuse.

“Our media partners have donated more than $100 million worth of media time and space to our ‘Mind Your Meds’ campaign,” Taylor said. “The work we’re doing with Solo is one aspect of a far greater effort on the partnership’s part.”

The project also offers advice on proper disposal of old meds, self-education on the opioid epidemic, and sharing knowledge with friends and family. These comprehensive resources are available to

caregivers, parents, healthcare providers, law enforcement officials, educators and others, which will assist them in preventing the abuse of prescription drugs.

“It’s really a comprehensive array of resources that is very much the center of our work for the past five or so years,” Taylor said. “Anything we can do to educate people to clean out their medicine cabinets, and to talk to kids about the dangers of medicine abuse is a hugely important effort. Ninety-one people a day in the United States die from an overdose, so it’s really critical that we are getting on top of this problem and helping to reduce this extreme death toll in our country.”

New technology can play a role

iKeyp is a smartphone-enabled personal safe that protects against medication diversion and can be placed securely within a kitchen or medicine cabinet without the use of tools.

The device features a keypad where a security code can be entered, and an accelerometer that detects movement, if triggered, can alert the owner’s smartphone or smart device linked to iKeyp.

Prescription painkillers go through a well guarded and secured process up until a pharmacy sells them to a patient, who are often parents, said Mitch Danzig, co-creator and chief operating officer of Solo Technology Holdings. “The parent then goes home and leaves [the medication] on the kitchen counter or unlocked in a medicine cabinet. The cycle of security is broken when pharmacists hand them to an individual because people aren’t locking it up.”

Solo Technology Holdings has been working with several substance abuse prevention coalitions nationwide, Danzig said, “because, ideally, these are the people at the forefront of this battle, and tell people that this stuff is dangerous.”

The iKeyp will be offered at a discounted price during the campaign, which runs until March 12, 2017. The company will donate 25 percent of all sales profits during the campaign, which will directly help the non-profit’s objective of benefiting families suffering from substance abuse.

“It is essential that people start treating many of the prescription medications that are out there, especially opioids, like people do when they buy a gun, or when people get into a car and put on a seat belt,” Danzig said.