AUSTIN, Texas — One state lawmaker is proposing legislation to tackle the opioid epidemic.

  • Bill aims to tackle opioid crisis
  • Would require prescribed opioids to have red caps on bottles
  • Rep. Shawn Thierry hopes it gets bipartisan support

A recently filed bill would require all prescription bottles containing opioids to come with a bright red cap.

Jon Waters leads recovery meetings; he'll celebrate five years free of active opioid addiction next week, but just five years ago, his story was very different. His addiction to prescription pain medicine started with a shoulder injury when he was 17.

"I remember taking them and that thing inside of me just kind of clicked and changed and I was like woah, I like that," Waters said.  

His addiction lasted for ten years.

"I just started buying them from people who had extras laying around their house, or stealing them out of people's medicine cabinets," Waters said.  

Democratic state lawmaker, Rep. Shawn Thierry, says it's this classic addiction story that her so-called Red Cap Bill aims to address.

"When we see a red cap on a bottle, instantly, I mean, the universal language in our country, red means stop, think about this," said Thierry.

Thierry's aptly named bill would require all prescriptions containing opioids to come in a bottle with a red cap. It's a simple idea she says is sure to get bipartisan support.

"The red cap bill is something I envision I can work across the aisle and work with all legislators on," Thierry said.

Michael Dadashi, co-founder of Infinite Recovery in Austin, and a recovering opioid addict himself, agrees it's a good step.

"This needs to be talked about more. The more that we're talking about it behind closed doors and in the public the better. Because people will know there is a solution. There is a solution to addiction. This is not a death sentence," Dadashi said.

Another tool to help curb the crisis, starting from the very first time a would-be addict opens the medicine cabinet and sees a red cap.

Thierry has filed two additional bills related to opioid use. One proposes putting a warning label on all opioid prescriptions, and the other would require pharmacists to give patients a document listing the risks of the drug that patients would then have to sign off before getting the medication.