Sen. Tom Umberg, D-Santa Ana, introduced a bill Wednesday that would require locks on prescription bottle caps for opioids to help prevent children from stealing the pills.
“As President (Bill) Clinton’s deputy drug czar, I am intimately familiar with the statistics, stories and policy quandaries surrounding the nation’s opioid and drug epidemics,” Umberg said. “It’s time we do more to protect California families from this danger and hold opioid manufacturers accountable for their part in this crisis.”
Umberg said the bill was motivated by the trend of “pilfering,” in which children sneak a few pills in the hope their parents won’t notice. According to his office, nearly 600,000 children between 12 to 17 annually engage in the practice.
Nearly 9,000 children and adolescents died between 1999 and 2016 due to opioid poisonings, and nearly 5,000 children 6 and younger are treated in emergency rooms for opioid exposure, Umberg said.
The senator said most child-proof prescription bottles are antiquated and haven’t been updated in about 50 years.
Umberg’s bill would require pharmacists to place opioid prescriptions in vials with locks on them.
Other states mulling similar legislation include Michigan, Oregon and Colorado, according to Umberg’s office.
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