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App helps police and parents identify pills

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

BEREA, Ky. (WKYT) - Pill trafficking, it's a statewide issue and police in Berea are finding a new use for their smartphones to put a stop to it. It all starts with the app called "Pill Identifier."

"It's really helpful when we're out on a traffic stop or your out somewhere on a call and you need to identify a pill," explained Sgt. Jake Reed.

The app allows a person to search based on pill's shape, color, and more importantly by the imprint on the pill. The results page will then name the medication, whether it's a controlled substance, and even provide a photo for comparison.

"(We) used to have to call poison control or you'd have to come to where you'd have a computer to be able to look it up, but now it's kind of instantaneous. It makes the work ten times easier."

Sgt. Reed said many of the officers at the Berea Police department stand by the app.

"I don't think I've come across one that I haven't been able to find, yet."

So, it's an app that police find helpful, but how accurate is it? To find out we put it to the test at the C&C Pharmacy, in Lexington.

Test after test, the app held up.

"It works! It has all of them in the database, and it's nice that they finally came out with an app," said pharmacist Consuelo Palutis.

But this app doesn't just have to be a tool for law enforcement officers, it's an app that you can use at home. Palutis described how she fields several calls a month from people calling to ask for a pill's name after finding them scattered in their home, or sometimes in their children's rooms.

Palutis said when searching the app, the color and shapes will only help narrow the field, but the most important identifier is the imprint, or code, on the pill. She explained that this code is universal to the database and is unique to each prescription.

"It's a good investigative tool, I think. Actually, I think it's really easy to use. The other thing it'd be helpful for is if you find a child has opened up a bottle and you need to know quickly (what it is)."

Making this step in technology one that can help police protect your community, and one that you can use to protect your family.

"I think the app is just as good as going online," stated Palutis, who still insisted that people should still call a pharmacist or a trained professional to confirm the pills code.

The "Pill Identifier" app is $.99 in the app store, but there are other similar apps that are free to download.

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