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Drug Overdose Prevention Apps

Taxonomy Code: RX-8470.1900-175

Applications ("Apps") for smartphones and tablets that are designed to support people who use drugs when they are alone and are consequently at higher risk of an overdose, by connecting them to emergency responders automatically if they become unresponsive. Users can open the Lifeguard app produced in British Columbia when they're about to use substances, record the type of substance, confirm their location and set a timer. As the timer ends, the app will sound an alarm, flash a light, and vibrate. The user must hit a button to stop the alarm and indicate they are fine. If they are unable to stop the alarm, a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1. This alerts emergency medical dispatchers of a possible overdose and may save someone's life if they become unconscious or unable to function when using alone. Another overdose prevention cell phone app called Second Chance was developed in the U.S. by researchers at the University of Washington. It uses sonar to monitor a person's breathing rate and senses when an opioid overdose has occurred. People can use the app during opioid use so that if they overdose, the phone can potentially connect them to a friend or emergency services to provide naloxone. The app accurately detects overdose-related symptoms about 90 percent of the time and can track someone's breathing from up to 3 feet away.

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