pill box

Stop the Start: The Opioid Addiction Crisis

The best solutions come before the problem.

The best solutions come before the problem. Opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions with some estimates as high as 36 million users worldwide (roughly equivalent to the entire population of Canada). Each day, opioid addiction costs us dearly. It claims 90 and untold numbers of lives destroyed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that “the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”

Treatment is vital for addressing opioid addiction, but stopping it before it starts is key to solving the problem.

Understanding the Challenge

The pills aren’t the problem. Improper use is.

Unlike “street drugs” like crystal meth crack, opioids are have a legitimate role in the treatment of pain. Dilaudid®, Oxycontin®, Vicodin® among others are prescribed by physicians following injuries, surgery, and in cases of terminal illness. However, once prescribed by the physician and dispensed by the pharmacist there is little more than the honor system to prevent accidental overdose, misuse, and “sharing” of the medicine: studies show that half of all opioid abusers are taking someone else’s legally prescribed medicine.

Yet, because opioids come from doctors as well as dealers, their misuse is far more widespread. They are not just a “street drug”, but pervade every level of society. The face of opioid addiction is not one of a certain color, it is the one in the mirror.

As James Punch so poignantly observed in over three decades as a New York district attorney and judge, there is no safeguard against the death and despair caused by opioid addiction; it touches everyone. While he reflects on his own battle with cancer, made bearable through the proper use of opioid painkillers, he acknowledges that a physician’s prescription, though an act of compassion, often becomes the unwitting first step on a path to destruction.

“We have an obligation to use our ingenuity and our resources to find a way to prescribe this medication in a way that is responsible.” —Hon. James Punch, Former NY District Attorney and Family Court Judge

Because opioids are a powerful weapon in a physician’s arsenal, simply outlawing their use is tantamount to using a shotgun to swat a fly…in the dark.

Responsible use and restricted access are the solution.

An Ounce of Prevention...Is Priceless

Designing the Cure.

Afton Heitzenrater, a physician’s assistant in orthopedics, is just one of many who saw the growing demand for opioids. But among the problem, she saw a solution. If bedside devices could help hospital patients properly self-administer painkillers, why couldn’t pill bottles? That question led to a smart dispenser concept patented by Heitzenrater’s uncle, Joe Bujalski, and designed in a partnership with ROBRADY. It represents a meaningful first step from research toward reality and a solution to the opioid addiction crisis.

The PILL, a smart opioid dispenser, truly gives patients, physicians, and pharmacists the tool they need to address the opioid epidemic while simultaneously improving healthcare.

The PILL synergizes digital technology and design thinking into a sustainable, reusable product that delivers substantive solutions to our nation’s urgent problem. The device, which expands on the original patent addresses many of the factors leading to opioid misuse and addiction.

The dispenser, issued as usual by the pharmacist, contains the prescribed medication in the appropriate doses in a tamper-evident plastic container.

A digital, E-ink display can show prescription information, dosage timer, QR codes. When the timer reaches zero, patients can rotate their next pill to the finger hole and punch it through the foil seal. Once rotated, the dispenser locks until the timer reaches zero again.

In addition to setting the intervals for pill access, pharmacists can also read information from the PILL to review and monitor a patient’s usage habits, a further safeguard against addiction and accidental overdose.

Just Say Now

Opioid addiction’s death toll is rising 10% a year. It’s time for deeds not declarations.

Working with physicians, pharmacists, engineers, and politicians, ROBRADY design’s multi-disciplinary team has completed the initial product and design phase that proves the feasibility of the PILL. Now we are seeking partners to help fund the next steps toward a solution to this global epidemic.

ROBRADY design, an internationally recognized design firm, has over two decades of experience humanizing technology to address pain and enhance quality of life. We have a proven track record of moving products from research to reality and delivering them to market with significant return on investment. For examples of our solutions, visit our portfolio.

The PILL offers opportunities to make a significant impact on the market as well as the way medicine in practiced around the world, but the greatest dividend will be measured in lives spared. Contact us today to make a difference.

PILL In The News

See who is talking about the PILL product.

MDDI Online

Will Medtech Rise to FDA's Challenge in the War on Opioid Abuse?

News WTSP Tampa Bay – Sarasota

Sarasota company fights opioid epidemic with 'smart' pill dispenser

SRQ Magazine

Will PILL Desing opiod Solution?

Fox 13 Tampa Bay

Pill dispenser with lock, timer could prevent opiate addiction

83 Degrees Media

Opioid Update: Sarasota firm working on Smart pill dispenser

Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sarasota company’s smart pill bottle design intended to battle opioid crisis

Sarasota Magazine

Company Introduces High-Tech Opioid Dispenser

USA Today – Patti Singer This pill dispenser, regulated via timer, could stop opioid addiction before it starts

13 ABC WHAM Smart opioid dispenser aims to curb abuse

Patti Singer, Democratic Chronicle Pill dispenser that's set by timer may stop opioid addiction before it starts

ROC Health Radio

Interview with Afton Heitzenrater