The FDA, or Food and Drug Administration, is reaching out to tech experts to approach the opiate epidemic from a new angle.
The FDA has issued a challenge to IT professionals and tech gurus in Silicon Valley- to build an app to combat the rampant overdoses from opiate drugs that are plaguing the country. Aptly named, the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, will be open for submissions beginning this Friday, and running through November 7th. The ultimate point of the app, as announced by the FDA, is to connect opiate users with the closest supply of Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug that has already saved countless addicts.
Connecting Addicts with Help
Following the success of Naloxone in reversing the effects of heroin, fentanyl, and other opiate medications, the drug is now available at most pharmacies across the US with a prescription. Further, the drug is also available to medical first responders, law enforcement officers, at-risk opioid users, and friends or family of those users. With this increased availability, it makes sense that the next step is to ensure that someone experiencing an overdose (or in the presence of such) can access these stores of Naloxone as soon as possible after overdose. The longer it takes to get Naloxone to the person who has overdosed, the lower the chance that they can be saved. When someone is overdosing, their breathing slows and eventually stops; this cuts off air supply to the brain and bloodstream, and if it progresses to a certain point, irreversible damage to the brain and body, as well as death, may be unavoidable. The ideal app would alert the closest Naloxone carriers to the person in need. The app could be used by addicts themselves, friends of addicts, or simply passerby who witness an overdose situation occurring.
Currently, despite many people who carry the drug on them, their supply may go unused for months, resulting in expiration of the naloxone and a wasted opportunity to save a life. The app may also be used as an educational tool- to teach the younger generations about preventing overdose, and the realities of addiction. It can also provide information as to how to obtain Naloxone, and would provide a sense of confidentiality and privacy in obtaining help or information.
The winners of the competition will receive $40,000 from the FDA to put towards development of the app. There is also a potential collaboration with the federal Small Business Innovation Research program, for potential partnership with the winners to help start their company.
For more information, go to http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm520945.htm
Help is Available
If you or someone you know is at risk for an overdose, inpatient treatment may be the answer. Call the addiction treatment professionals at Serenity Acres today for your free confidential assessment: 1-800-203-2024.