The opioid crisis is gripping much of the nation, and it’s close to home for residents of the state of Nevada.
Hundreds of people in the Las Vegas valley die every year from opiate overdoses.
More than 300 people have died from opioids since 2014. There was a bit of a spike between 2014 and 2015, along with a slight dip in 2016. But, already this year, 108 people have died from overdoses.
If the trend continues, things won’t get better for 2017.
So, what can be done to fight addiction?
The answer to preventing addiction may be a matter of keeping track of time.
Thomas Clark dedicated 16 years to the Navy, in which most of his time was spent driving a speed boat, bouncing on waves.
By the time he retired in 2000, his back was badly injured.
Since then, Clark has had six surgeries, but none of them fixed the problem.
“My back has been put together with more screws, plates, rods, and bars than Home Depot’s got screws,” Clark said.
Clark now turns to prescribed opioids to manage his back pain, and he will have to be on medication for the rest of his life.
Everyday, he faces the risk of over-using.
“It’s easier for us to justify taking more because we’ll say to ourselves, ‘Oh, it’s been a while’,” Clark said.
But ever since Clark started using TimerCaps, which help him take his pills as prescribed, Clark has been able to stay on schedule, and he hasn’t lost track of time.
“You can see the last time I opened that was 12 hours 35 minutes ago,” Clark said as he pointed to the cap on the pill bottle.
The timer resets every time a medicine bottle is opened.
Timer caps are available at major drug stores around the valley, and a set of 3 usually runs about $10. However, the goal of the company behind the caps is to make them available at no cost to the patient.
“That’s what we’ve been talking about in the legislation,” said Larry Twersky, the CEO of TimerCaps.
Twersky recently traveled to Washington, D.C to ask lawmakers to make his product or something similar mandatory with every opioid prescription.
“We’re making sure that patients have these kits that are covered by their payers and healthcare systems,” Twersky said.
Twersky, whose mother was addicted to pain medication, hopes the timer caps can prevent others from falling into the same habit. Especially, those living with chronic pain like Clark.
According to the latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15,000 people in the country died from a prescribed opioid overdose in 2015.