Our solution to reduce heroin overdoses is an idea derived from an app (PulsePoint) that is currently used to help heart attack victims. The app alerts nearby, CPR certified individuals when a call to 911 is made concerning a heart attack. If the alerted CPR certified person can get to the victim before the EMTs, the victim has a higher chance of survival. If we were able to have the developers of the app alter it, or create a new one to incorporate opioid overdoses, it could potentially save as many victims for overdoses, as victims of heart attacks.
An EMT, Jason Velasquez said that “I usually respond to 10 or 20 calls per day, and 2, maybe 3, are from heart attacks […] I have responded to a couple cases this year that an individual was saved because of PulsePoint. It was a great idea.” Since it works so well why not use it for overdoses?
The app would function similarly to PulsePoint, but the first responders won’t be using CPR. Instead, they would use a nasal spray, known as Narcan (uses the drug Nalaxone), that is carried by many EMTs, and Police officers. When administered properly, Narcan can help a user live through what may have been a deadly overdose by regulating heart rate and breathing. This does mean, however, that whoever carries it must be trained to use it. Jason also added that “I’ve used Narcan once on a patient that overdosed on heroin. I honestly didn’t expect him to survive, but he left the hospital before the end of my shift.”
The innovation of the pulse point app has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Not only that, but it can help to reduce the amount of heroin addicts. These two advantages should reduce death from heroin overdoses, and drastically reduce the amount of heroin addicts.
Leinwand, Donna. (2014). Police carry special drug to reverse heroin overdoses. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/30/police-use-narcan-to- reverse-heroin-overdoses/5063587/
Nalaxone (n.d). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naloxone
Cole Andray. Personal Interview with Jason Velasquez. 2016
Written by: Cole Andray