Woodsman invents a device to control the flow of fentanyl from the patches

In 2011, Neil Jackson, a Forest resident and former auditor, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects the bones and joints. It is a rare cancer that accounts for about 20% of bone tumors.

After undergoing life-threatening surgery and surviving, Jackson, now 73, was in excruciating pain. She was prescribed morphine and codeine-based medications, including Oxycontin, oxycodone, and hydromorphone.

“And then I had 100 micrograms of transdermal fentanyl going through my chest every hour,” he said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for the treatment of pain in cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Due to its powerful opioid properties, fentanyl is also abused.

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According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is driving the overdose epidemic across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the 12-month period ending October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and 66% of those deaths were related to synthetic opioids such as opioids. fentanyl. Last year, the United States suffered more fentanyl-related deaths than gun and car-related deaths combined.

Jackson said that dependence on the fentanyl patch usually forms within two weeks of starting prescription use.

He invented FenBlock to give people the control and freedom to quit fentanyl using their own timeline, managing the process themselves without judgment and with the support of their healthcare provider.

“Carry a load because you know you’re an addict if you’re addicted to something and then you really want to not call yourself an addict, so you don’t have that baggage that you’re carrying around, even in your brain. So you say I’m dependent and there’s a very fine line, but I was addicted,” she said.

So he decided to do something about it and created FenBlock, a prescription self-monitoring device that blocks the flow of fentanyl from a patch.

FenBlock blocks the flow of a transdermal fluid from a fentanyl patch and can be cut into various sizes depending on how much medication the patient is trying to come off. The patch is placed between the fentanyl patch and the skin.

The device is currently pending approval by the US Food and Drug Administration and, if approved, would be available with a prescription from a physician.

Jackson was prescribed the fentanyl patch after his surgery, but he didn’t want to deal with the residual pain when he stopped using it.

“I wanted to be able to go into that area and say, ‘Too much, I have to stop. I went far enough,’” she said. “I’ll stop and breathe, I’ll restart this process maybe a month or two months from now. I can manage my timeline. If I had a different patch size, I wouldn’t be able to manage my timeline. So I came up with it.” this idea and it worked. And within 14 months, I was off fentanyl.”

John Hart is a consultant to Jackson and a member of the board of directors of Virginia Bio, a biomedical organization that works to promote innovation and growth through networking, advocacy, and equity investment.

He has medical device experience with companies such as Johnson & Johnson, what is now Medtronic, and Stryker Corporation. Over the past 20 years, he has been CEO of startups and mid-tier medical device companies.

Hart believes that FenBlock is a simple and elegant solution to help people kick their fentanyl addiction.

“There are a number of people who become addicted to fentanyl or opioid-based surgical procedures, and that’s Neil’s story, he became addicted to fentanyl and realized it was starting to take over his life,” he said. .

FenBlock blocks the fentanyl patch in percentages and eventually allows a person to stop using it.

Hart said it’s a discreet, non-medical device that anyone who wants to break their addiction can easily use.

Jim Parker, a FenBlock adviser, met Jackson after the two were part of a group assisting Physiotherapy PhD students at Lynchburg University. Parker had a brain hemorrhage in 2013 and volunteered to have students practice with him a few years later, and Jackson was doing the same.

“Some of us used to meet in my garage because it was a nice place to sit, and Neil is in a wheelchair and couldn’t get around very well, so he could park the truck in Parker’s garage and go right in.” Parker said. “We started meeting there and talking about the world in general, and at one point Neil mentioned that he was in the process of starting FenBlock.”

From there, Parker watched Jackson’s progression and had seen him over a period of many months in which Jackson had gone from being a 7-year addict to coming off the fentanyl patch and other medications.

“I suggested to Neil that the process and the device were patentable and that the process was something that people could use,” Parker said. “This would really work for people who are really interested in getting off fentanyl and that’s where it’s been developed.”

Parker said he’s seen it work personally, having seen Jackson use it, and while he did have some slip-ups and it was a tough process, Jackson is clean now.

“It’s a tapering process and it’s lifesaving in that sense, because eventually opioids will kill you if you continue to take them,” Parker said. “There’s hope that it can and does work, and this device is a simple way to do it.”

After watching a local news segment about Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin Hall’s push to end the opioid epidemic, Jackson reached out to ask if Hall would support FenBlock.

Kevin Hall and his son, Ryan, created a documentary, “Heroin: Broken Dreams, Ruined Lives” in 2017 after Ryan Hall became addicted to opioids after a sports injury, which led to a heroin addiction. . Ryan Hall ended up doing time in prison, but he’s been clean for five years, his father said in an interview with The News & Advance.

About a month ago, Jackson contacted Kevin Hall, who has spent 36 years as a drug task force officer and has become an expert on the opioid crisis.

“I wanted support for this product so people could get clean,” Hall said. “I’ve looked at it and I think it’s another tool in the addicted person’s toolbox. This would be a boon to get people weaned off.”

Hall said he wants people to know that if this is a medically viable option, there is hope.

“When you take away someone’s hope, you take away their desire to get better, change their life and get clean,” he said.

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