Local inventor creates pill bottle to help combat opioid overdose epidemic
AMHERST, Va. (WSET) -- President Donald Trump has created a commission to combat drug addiction and the opioid crisis, which had their first meeting on Friday, and President Trump also declared a national emergency on opioid abuse.
At the meeting Friday, commissioners discussed insurance issues related to the opioid epidemic.
The national emergency also gives state and federal agencies more resources.
Virginia has already declared opioid overdoses an emergency health crisis after last year more than 1,100 people died from an overdose.
A local inventor is also working to help battle the opioid crisis.
According to the CDC, more than 1,000 people are treated for an opioid overdose in emergency rooms across the country, but the local inventor said he's created something that will drastically cut those numbers.
Also on Friday, Attorney General Mark Herring sent a letter encouraging healthcare companies to implement programs to help fight opioid abuse.
Herring said he wants these companies to adopt the same measures as CVS Pharmacy, which limits the supply of opioids they can give out for patients who are new to the therapy and limits the dosage for patients in general.
Joseph Hamilton said he understands the struggle that drug addicts go through after he spent years with a girlfriend who abused prescription drugs.
"I told her one day I said, I'm gonna come up with something you can't argue with, the doctors will know exactly how you've taken you're medicine and you won't be able to get it until it's due," Hamilton said.
But that day didn't come soon enough.
"Last time she was on life support she didn't come back," Hamilton said.
For the past seven years Hamilton has spent $70,000 to invent a pill bottle that is computer programmed to dispense one pill at a time.
The bottle will eventually be connected to software that can alert doctors or law enforcement if the seal is broken and pills are missing.
"It can be recorded every time and date that the pill comes out and even where they were at, with the GPS in it, to where they took it out," Hamilton added.
There will even be finger print recognition, to be sure the person taking the medicine is the person who has the prescription.
Hamilton got the patent three months ago and said a pharmceutical company approached him and offered him more than one million dollars for the patent to keep the bottles off the market.
He refused, saying this is too important for him to sell out and be silenced now.
"People are dying every day, people are losing their kids, their husbands, wives, parents, their lives to opioids," he said.
Hamilton said what's holding him back right now is the funds to mass produce the bottles; he already has the plastsics factory and the computer programmers on hold, and the patent, but he just needs the money to mass produce the bottles.
He said he needs about $4 million to distribute them across the country, but with less, he can get the produt made on a smaller scale.
Hamilton said he's reaching out to government organizations to try and get their support as well, and to eventually have the bottles required with any opioid prescription.
If you would like to help, you can go to his GoFundMe page, to donate or you can email Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.