We are addressing heroin addiction by combining two existing life saving products into one, PulsePoint and Life Alert. These two existing services have proven to be very efficient in providing life saving treatment to patients of various medical emergencies. Combining these two services and applying it to patients suffering from a heroin overdose will save lives while we continue to find a solution to this public health crisis.
PulsePoint is a mobile app that allows CPR trained volunteers to respond to reports of a heart attack with in 300 yards of their location. Volunteers are alerted through the app, by the dispatcher, when someone is suffering from a heart attack near them. The volunteer can then respond to the patients location and begin CPR if medics have not arrived. PulsePoint was launched in 2010 and has been adopted by over 500 cities in 17 states. With a quick Google search you can find many stories from all across the country of PulsePoint saving lives.
Life Alert is a product for independent seniors to use in the event of an emergency. Life Alert provides a neckless or bracelet with a button for seniors to push in the event of an emergency. An alert is then sent to the local dispatcher to send emergency services to the patient, usually in the event that they do not have access to a phone. Life Alert claims to save a life every 10 minutes, and has over 33,000 member testimonies.
There is yet to be a technology application to address the heroin epidemic. The heroin epidemic has been addressed mostly through policy change (i.e. attempting to treat heroin addiction more as a health care matter than a criminal matter). We are looking to make the first significant impact on the heroin epidemic through technological innovation.
ODA (Overdose Alert) is a combination of these two services to provide life saving services to patients of drug overdoses. The app connects overdose patients with trained volunteers equipped with Narcan with in 300 yards of the patient, via the 911 dispatcher. Narcan is an overdose reversal drug that stabilizes a patient until they can receive further medical treatment. A heroin user will also have a “panic button” they can push in the event of an emergency. These panic buttons will be on a neckless or keychain that a user can press in the event of an overdose with no one around, or if no one has access to a phone. Hitting the panic button will trigger the same response (911 dispatcher is notified and sends out alert to ODA volunteers with in 300 yards). This service will help save lives while we fight to find solutions to this heroin epidemic.
The ODA system will work similarly to PulsePoint. It will be a non-profit that charges cities, counties, or states an annual access fee. This fee will range from $8,000-$28,000 each year, depending on the size of the cities population. Emergency service dispatch centers will have the ODA system integrated with their current dispatch system, much like the PulsePoint system. Life Alert technology will provide services in the event an overdose occurs when someone is alone or does not have access to a telephone. The life alert panic button is widely regarded as successful technology that has proven itself as effective for years. The panic button will be sold to cities at cost who will then sell them to addict’s family members, friends, or addicts themselves.
The annual fee will be used to fund volunteer training and app efficiency. Training for volunteers will be free, as well as their supply of Narcan. Volunteers must go through retraining annually to insure they can effectively administer Narcan, remain calm in a stressful situation, and properly navigate the app. Government agencies will also receive annual training as part of their yearly fee.
ODA will be the first significant technological innovation to address the heroin crisis. We are looking to combine two successful existing technologies into one, to address a knew problem. The PulsePoint app connects CPR trained volunteer with heart attack victims to increase the likely hood of a patients survival by notifying volunteers of patients suffering from a heart attack with in 300 yards of the patent. PulsePoint is widely considered a success and its technology can be implemented to help people from dying of heroin overdoses. A good complement to the PulsePoint technology would be the technology that Life Alert uses to help seniors living independently. Life Alert provides independent seniors with a panic button neckless or bracelet to press if they are ever in need of emergency services but do not have access to a telephone. Someone suffering from a heroin overdose could use this technology in the event they are suffering from an overdose and no one is around or has access to a telephone. This technology is highly innovative, creative, and will save lives.
PulsePoint. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.pulsepoint.org
Life Alert. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://lifealert.com
Platt, S. (Director). (2016, February 23). Chasing Heroin [Video file]. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/chasing-heroin/