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Michigan OPEN

OPEN, Safe Rx Partner to Provide Locking Pill Vials to Community Organizations

May 10, 2024

Throughout 2023, OPEN began distributing Safe Rx Locking Pill Vials (LPVs) to conference attendees as a way to promote safe storage of medications. It became clear very quickly that there was a need, and demand, from community members and organizations alike for resources like this. To get LPVs into the hands of more people, OPEN started the Safe Storage with Locking Pill Vials program at the end of January 2024. OPEN’s Safe Storage Program has found great success with over 30 applicants in 3 months. 

“I think it’s eye opening,” said Emily McKanna, MPH, Program Specialist at OPEN. “We started handing locking prescription vials out at public health conferences and events, providing basic education surrounding them, and there was big interest from people working within Substance Use Disorder (SUD) clinics to suicide prevention organizations to parents and grandparents. These vials have clearly shown benefit and wide-spread interest.”

According to a 2020 study, while over 60% of caregivers reported being educated in safe storage techniques and resources, only 18.3% of caregivers reported that they keep their unused opioids in locked storage, such as an LPV. 1

LPVs are an easy and convenient way to store medication. They are portable and available in two sizes; small vials (1.5” in diameter and 4.5” tall) which are ideal for directly dispensing and holding your medication, and large vials (2” in diameter and 5.4” tall) which can hold the entire prescription bottle without having to remove the medication from the original bottle. Each vial comes with a pre-programmed, unique 4-digit code used to lock and unlock the vial and is able to be registered online in case the code is lost or forgotten. Organizations can apply for up to 250 small or large bottles.

There are a variety of reasons why one may choose to use an LPV, including wanting to keep medications private from others, handling medication for or as a person living with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or ADHD, preventing accidental poisoning, ensuring correct dosages of medications, and travel safety.

“LPV community distributions are incredibly important to securing medications in our homes and other settings. Sneaking pills, or pilfering, is a leading source of misuse and initiation, with 42,000 opioid use disorders created annually as a result of pilfering diversion,” said Milton Cohen, President & CEO at Safe Rx. “LPV distributions create safer homes and communities by securing medications that otherwise put our children, teens, families and neighbors at risk.  We’re excited to partner with OPEN in bringing this positive impact to Michigan communities,” he added.  

According to the 2022 United States National Survey on Drug Use and Health 46.8 million (16.7%) Americans (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in the past year.2  Studies also show 57% of young adults obtaining prescription opioids from friends or relatives.3 “These are very alarming statistics. These resources are so important to not only keep medication safe and locked but to reduce the risk of opioid and medication misuse,” said McKanna. 

OPEN is excited to be partnering with Safe Rx to hand out this important safe storage resource to the community and looks forward to seeing how this program can continue to grow and expand people’s knowledge of safe storage methods.