Methadone dispensing eye scanning machine

ID: Iris' are being used to identify people at Campbelltown Hospital who present for methadone of suboxone treatment. Picture: Shutterstock
ID: Iris' are being used to identify people at Campbelltown Hospital who present for methadone of suboxone treatment. Picture: Shutterstock

Eye-scanning technology has generally been limited to James Bond and Mission Impossible movies.

But now it’s being used at Campbelltown Hospital to treat people with addictions to opiates like heroin and codeine.

The idose system identifies clients by taking a digital photo of their iris before dispensing the methadone dosage required.

It also identifies patients who need suboxone, however as it comes in a tablet form it still needs to be handed out manually by staff.

The Campbelltown idose system was one of three machines installed in the South Western Sydney Local Health District recently, with the other two located in Bankstown and Liverpool.

The district’s drug health services general manager Tonina Harvey said the technology ensured the right client was given the right dosage every time.

“Before we had to rely on passport photos and information on paper file,” she said.

“Now, the idose system brings up the client’s details and dispenses the right dose.

“There is no opportunity for clients to fake IDs. Each person’s iris is unique to them, and there are no two irises the same in the world.

“Not even identical twins have the same irises so there is no risk of miss-identifying.

“They can’t double dose either because the (three) machines talk to each other.”

Up to 125 clients present to Campbelltown for methadone or suboxone everyday.

Ms Harvey said the new system was able to identify clients and dispense methadone within about three to six minutes – about a 10 minutes quicker than the old system.

“It means staff have more time to engage with clients,” she said.

Ms Harvey said she never imagined a machine that could identify people by scanning their eyes before dispensing medicine, would be a reality when she first started working in drug and alcohol services.

“In the early days, I never thought anything like this would be available,” she said.