Pill-cap timers can help in battle against addiction

Pill-cap timers can help in battle against addiction

PITTSBURGH — Studies have shown that abusing prescription pills can lead to abusing drugs such as heroin, and experts have now developed a new tool in the fight to curb addiction by addressing prescription-pill abuse.

The device is called a "timer-cap,” and each time it is screwed on to a bottle, it begins to count up. That serves two purposes: it lets you know the last time you took a dose of medication, which will help avoid accidental overdoses, and it also alerts you if someone else has opened the bottle.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 53 percent of teens who abused pain killers got them from a friend or a relative. In many instances, the pill bottle was sitting in the medicine cabinet or on the kitchen counter.

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The timing feature of the timer cap records the time - to the second - that the bottle was last opened. People in Pittsburgh's Market Square said they hope that can help give parents a leg up with their savvy teenagers.

Different pharmacies often use different pill bottles, but CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid all sell their own version of timer caps.