Author: Justin Mckibben
Naloxone expansion is something we consistently see as a topic of discussion. Naloxone, or the name-brand Narcan, is an opioid overdose antidote that is in high demand as one of the primary tools in the fight against the ongoing overdose outbreak. Law makers and law enforcement agencies have joined with community organizations and pharmacy companies in trying to provide this medication to more and more people.
New legislation across the U.S. has made access to Naloxone more common than ever. Now, the drive for Naloxone expansion is leading us to another avenue. This is beyond supplying the families of addicts, the addicts themselves and first responders.
Some may remember, back in September, the Food and Drug Administration launched a competition to app developers in the name of improving resources for naloxone expansion. The contest was seeking a mobile app for connecting people experiencing a drug overdose with someone nearby who can administer naloxone. With technology being used to expedite just about everything in our world, it only made sense to use it to help save lives if possible.
The winner of the Naloxone App Competition has been announced this month, and the $40,000 cash prize has been claimed. Their mission: to make it possible for more people to be first responders for opiate overdoses.
The OD Help App
The winning app is the OD Help App, creared by Team PwrdBy, a small start-up in Venice, California. The start-up’s CEO Jared Sheehan says this innovation stems from the idea of making naloxone assistance as available as ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. With Uber and Lyft drivers being so spread out, the idea is the app could cover a lot more ground and reach more people in the event of opioid overdose.
Sheehan says there’s still a lot of work to be done before the app is made available to the public. To implement this kind of program with Uber or Lyft, it would require reaching out and coordinating with ride-sharing companies. Sheehan stated:
“Is there a way if every Uber driver had a naloxone kit in the back of their car, that you could call someone and they’d be able to come over and administer naloxone?”
So in essence, the idea of the OD Help app would be to be able to alert naloxone carriers of an overdose (OD) and give them the option of being dispatched to help revive someone experiencing the overdose.
Expanding Team PwrdBy Naloxone Plan
According to Sheehan, ride-sharing apps are just one avenue that Team PwrdBy is setting its sights on. The company is also exploring more traditional distribution systems.
One such method Team PwrdBy wants to look to for inspiration for the OD Help app is the AED network, the automated external defibrillators network across schools. The goal is to better comprehend how these programs are funded and distributed. Modeling after an already successful style of expanded access for other emergency medical supplies may be vital to changing the way we expand naloxone access.
All of this is to save as many lives as possible.
How OD Help Works
The OD Help app connects opioid users with a crowd-sourced network of naloxone carriers. Using GPS, it specifically connects someone who may experience an overdose with someone nearby who has access to naloxone. The app is also able to be personalize to the user’s specifications. One feature lets you set it up so in the event of an overdose the app would only alert people in your selected support network. And naloxone carriers can disable alerts if they are not able to respond.
Another feature available with the OD Help app is a breathing monitor. This can be helpful for people who use opioids alone. It gives the app a way to communicate with others when the user can’t. The wearable monitor is able to detect if the individual’s breathing rate is dangerously low, a sign of overdose. In this case the OD Help app automatically alerts a naloxone carrier nearby.
The app also features information on:
- How to correctly identify an overdose
- How to administer naloxone
Another hope is that the app will also inform younger generations about the dangers of opioid abuse, and about overdose prevention. The hope is the app could reach a younger population and make them aware of how to get access to naloxone and how to administer it. Many young people don’t think of pharmacies as a place to get the drug that could save their lives.
Put to Good Use
The truth is, not all people will be able to have access to a consistent supply of naloxone. The drug also doesn’t last forever. For those who would need to have an overdose antidote resource, the OD Help app could be a safe-guard against being completely unprepared for an overdose.
Some people may be embarrassed or have some reservations about personally obtaining naloxone. With the OD Help app they could reach out to someone if they truly needed the help.
If you or someone you loved were overdosing, would it be useful to be able to look on an app and find someone close by with the tools to help? Some people would say you should just call an ambulance, but what if it could get there sooner? Or what if someone is afraid of reporting it? Too many people die for these very reasons, but they shouldn’t have to. Sure, some people may ask if they would let a random citizen administering the antidote. However, some might say any help is worth having.
Then on the other side, would people be willing to come to the rescue if they had the resources? If your phone rang and the OD Help app said someone needed help around the corner, would you? Would you be happy you could?
Something tells me plenty of people would be willing to put this tool to good use.
This writer has said this before; the preservation of all lives should be a responsibility of all who have the ability to help; not just for public health officials, but everyone. As part of that, Palm Partners is dedicated to contributing to the rehabilitation and revolutionary growth possible with holistic treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Tis’ the season for a lot of holiday celebrations. This time of year is always full of family, fun and fellowship, with the year 2016 coming to a close only days away. Considering so many parts of the country a plagued with harsh weather during winter, and so many people are out celebrating, it only makes sense that extra attention be brought to the need for safe traveling. The importance of which is definitely emphasized in the movement against drunk and drugged driving. While most of us know December as a holiday season for many reasons, it is also National Impaired Driving Prevention Month!
From the White House
Back in 2012 President Barrack Obama made a statement announcing National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, stating:
“As Americans gather with friends and family to share in the holiday season, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month reminds us of the importance of celebrating safely. Every year, accidents involving drunk, drugged, or distracted driving claim thousands of lives, leaving families to face the heartbreak of losing a loved one. We stand with all those who have known the tragic consequences of drugged or drunk driving, and we rededicate ourselves to preventing it this December and throughout the year.”
In these efforts the President and his administration invite families, educators, health care providers, and community leaders to promote responsible decision-making, and also to inspire young people to live free of drugs and alcohol. In the description of impaired driving the movement is not limited to alcohol. It includes:
- Distracted driving, such as driving tired or while texting
- Drugged driving
- Drunk driving
Understanding the Impact
This observation in so important, and several agencies encourage people to recognize and understand the impact, including:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- U.S. Department of Transportation,
- The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
To put the importance of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month into perspective, in an average year:
- 30 million Americans drive drunk
- 10 million Americans drive impaired by illicit drugs
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) conducted a study in 2010, which showed:
- 2% of people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol
- 3% drove under the influence of illicit drugs
- 8% of drunk drivers were 26 and older
- 5% of drunk drivers were 16 to 25 years old
- 8% of the older group drove drugged
- 4% of younger drivers drove under the influence of drugs
Again, the month of December makes plenty of sense for the National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, considering traffic fatalities involving impaired drivers increase significantly during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods. In fact, in December of 2010:
- 25 people on average were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per day!
- Drivers 21 to 34 years old were alcohol impaired and involved in fatal crashes at a higher percentage than any other age group
Do Your Part this December
This National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we have to keep in mind we should be doing our best to take care of each other. Spread good will and compassion to others with December. People are encouraged to always drive responsibly, and to be observant of each other on the roads. While reporting an impaired driver might not be the holiday present they want, but it could save their life and the lives of others. If you have a friend or relative who is impaired, don’t let them get behind the wheel.
Many people who struggle with alcohol or drug use disorders don’t even realize the severity of their problem until it is too late. Frequently driving impaired is often a warning sign of a deeper issue. Anyone who finds themselves driving impaired too often may want to seek help.
Sadly, fatal accidents happen across the country every year, claiming thousands of innocent lives as a result of impaired driving. Driving drugged, drunk or distracted is critically dangerous, and always avoidable. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The year is 2016, and pretty much everyone you know who is old enough to use a phone has one in their pocket that can play their favorite music, make credit card purchases with codes and scanners, and help them switch their face with someone else’s for a pretty awkward selfie. These digital devices have so much capacity with the infinitely expanding market of apps available to them, but could a new app save addicts when they overdose on drugs?
The Opiate Community
One major key to avoiding a fatal overdose is to never use alone, because too often an addict will use drugs while no one else is around to notice when they become incoherent and unconscious. Without someone present to revive an addict who overdoses the chances that they could die getting high… are pretty high. As the opiate epidemic in America has spiraled out of control for these past few years, there has actually been many shifts in mentality toward harm reduction tactics and users have actually created support communities specifically for active users.
The social media site Reddit has a subculture of its own in an open community under the designation “/r/opiates” where people with firsthand experience with opiate abuse and addiction share information. These individuals often offer each other safety tips, like the risks associated with use or even warnings of where more deadly batches of laced heroin are circulating.
Chris Oelerich, who is not actually a heroin user himself, decided to develop an app to try and prevent continued overdose deaths. In his process of designing the app he reached out to this Subreddit community and was given some useful information on how to make an effective app for opiate addicts.
The Remote Egg Timer App
Now I know this name sounds kind of random and no one would guess it was created to prevent drug overdose… but that is exactly the point. The Remote Egg Timer app title actually came from the opiates Subreddit, where one Redditor wrote,
“Can you call it a remote egg timer or some sh**? Call mom when the eggs are fried? References to your brain on drugs or some shit but don’t say anything about drugs?? This needs to be in place!!!!!!!!”
The app operates as a distress beacon of sorts, mixed with an alarm clock. The intention is that before the user actually uses they will set a timer. Once the timer is up the individual must push a button to indicate they are still responsive. If they do not respond to their time, the app will automatically send an emergency text message to a designating an emergency contact from their phone they have already set up.
When addicts are using such powerful drugs alone they are at a very serious risk, but this app hopes to support revival tactics such as naloxone expansion programs and otherwise give people a resource for quickly connecting with first responders. Similar apps have been released in the past few years for people who drink alcohol, designed to prevent drunk driving and other risk situations that arise while intoxicated.
Could It Work?
When Oelerich first put the concept for the app to the opiate users on Reddit, it was a well-received idea. While the app is by no means a perfect system and experiences a few bugs, most of the users so far have given the app positive reviews according to Oelerich. Currently the developer is trying to incorporate new ways for the app to be even more effective, such as:
- Feature to detect movement. This feature would trigger an emergency contact message if the phone has not moved for a while, which could also be a good indicator the user is unresponsive from an overdose.
- Feature in the works is to give the GPS coordinates of the user. When the alarm is not acknowledged and the distress signal goes out from the app, the text would somehow provide the users location so the best response can be properly timed.
So could an app like this work? Is it a fair assumption that while not all opiate and heroin addicts use in groups, they could have a better chance if another person was present during an overdose? Is it fair to say that if no one can be right there with them that they might have a better chance of getting the help they need with a resource that utilizes technology most people have?
Sure, not everyone has a smartphone. But for those who do, could an app like this make a difference? Would YOU use it for yourself or a loved one?
Technology helps us with a lot in our lives today. We constantly see new innovations that are making lives easier and safer, so what does technology have to offer for the addict who still suffers? Harm reduction is helping preserve life, and innovative and effective treatments help save lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
I have written before about how technology these days seems to be developing new and creative ways to innovate and enable the drug market for people. It’s like every time we turn around there’s news about the Dark Web, drug dealers going digital on Instagram, or a new app for our smartphones that helps us to purchase drugs, or assist us in trying to get away with drinking or getting high.
An experiment to test the boundaries of the Internet was recently conducted by a pair of Swiss artists. The artists loaded an online robot with Bitcoins, which is the digital currency that is used in some digital marketplaces, and unleashed it onto the Dark Web for the ultimate illicit shopping spree.
The Robot Arts
In this expression of art and experimentation, the robot in question was allowed to buy anything and everything it could find on the Dark Web. During this period the robot did indeed make many legitimate purchases, but then robot did happen to purchase some illegal drugs. We could easily assume the experiment was some sort of success, but now this incident is raising questions about the legality of such an action.
London-based Swiss artists Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, better known as !Mediengruppe Bitnik, coded what has been called the Random Darknet Shopper. This robot is an automated online shopping machine, and per Weisskopf and Domagoji’s directs it was programmed to buy various items online, using specifically $100 in Bitcoin per week on a digital black-market that lists over 16,000 items.
Weisskopf and Smoljo ultimately constructed a performance piece that was put on display in an exhibition that closed on January 11. The robot art was crafted around the weird stuff their robot acquired, including all types of randomized objects such as:
- A pair of fake Diesel jeans
- Abaseball cap with a hidden camera
- Astash can
- Apair of Nike trainers
- Fake Hungarian passport
- 200 Chesterfield cigarettes
- Set of fire-brigade issued master keys
- Fake Louis Vuitton handbag
- 10 ecstasy pills
The problem came in with those illegal ecstasy pills and the contraband Hungarian passport. The line between artful expression and criminal action was crossed over when those purchases were made, and that fueled the question in Switzerland now as to whether these artists could be arrested under the law as it currently stands.
iBlame the Robot
So authorities in Switzerland are now faced with a strange question that seems to scifi to be a reality; if your online robot buys illegal drugs and contraband, are you yourself guilty of a crime?
As of now there was been no definitive answer. Ryan Calo, law professor from the University of Washington investigated the topic in paper called “Robotics and the Lessons of Cyberlaw”. In his writing, Calo argued,
“Robotics has a different set of essential qualities than the Internet and, accordingly, will raise distinct legal issues. Robotics combines, for the first time, the promiscuity of data with the capacity to do physical harm; robotic systems accomplish tasks in ways that cannot be anticipated in advance; and robots increasingly blur the line between person and instrument.”
To some people Calo’s work may sound like the beginning of a conspiracy theorists ramblings, but is it really that far from the truth? Calo wrote even more on the topic an article for Forbes after hearing about the particular purchases made by the Swiss shopping-robot. In this writing Calo asked a tough question with the title of the piece alone: A Robot Really Committed A Crime: Now What? He then did his best to answer the question further on in the writing.
“If, for instance, the law says a person may not knowingly purchase pirated merchandise or drugs, there is an argument that the artists did not violate the law. Whereas if the law says the person may not engage in this behavior recklessly, then the artists may well be found guilty, since they released the bot into an environment where they could be substantially certain some unlawful outcome would occur.”
Calo went on to explain, saying that just wanting a bad outcome doesn’t make it illegal. We have not yet reached a reality of ‘thought-crime’ where our ill intentions can earn us punishment. That being said, to purposefully let a robot run wild in the Dark Web until it yielded contraband seems hard to distinguish from intent, because some would assume you designed it with this exact intention.
At the moment we may not have the system in place to police robots, but how will we properly monitor people to predict and regulate a robots Internet activity? When a robot breaks the law, will people be held responsible? Or will people be allowed to traffic drugs and blame it on their robots?
In a future not too far away we may see a change in how the Internet, artificial intelligence, and drugs are connected and controlled. As far-fetched as it seems, this is only the next step in the question of how much harm technology has the capacity of creating. Technology is increasingly convenient, but these days it could be making drugs and alcohol a little too easy for people to abuse. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call-toll free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
More and more these days we see it; people engrossed in their smartphone walking down the street, or even more dangerous, driving. I am honestly guilty of it myself. We find ourselves so involved in the world outside ourselves that is being broadcast across the invisible networks of the internet , and when we are in front of a computer we are trapped in the soft glow of our monitors like flies buzzing toward a bug-zapper.
While some people have an ability to take notice of how this is effecting their lives and relationships and act on it, many others are unable to completely let go, or even still have no intention of admitting to the dependence they have formed with their technology. But new studies are being conducted frequently to show us just how much of our population really relies on the fix we get from our social media new feeds or our endless stream of emails.
What is internet addiction?
Internet addiction is pathological and compulsive computer use that interferes with daily life. It is the inability to control internet use, resulting in an adverse impact on interpersonal relations and physical health. The concept of Internet addiction is still highly debated. Internet addiction is consistently becoming more understood and acknowledged as a hazardous compulsive condition.
Compulsive internet use can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. When you feel more comfortable with your online, even when it has negative consequences in your life, then you may be facing a more intense addiction to the internet and a higher dependence on technology.
The Numbers are In
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Honk Kong, about 6% of the world’s population is addicted to the internet. Now that number may seem small, but in other words that is actually 420 million people!
The meta-analysis was actually published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. More than 89,000 individuals in 31 countries (About half (49%) of the participants were men, and the average age was 18.42 years) were part of this study, and the data was collected regarding the prevalence of internet addiction, and some interesting conclusions were reached by the team.
Internet addiction appeared in the data to be more prevalent in countries or regions with a lower quality of life, which includes:
- low gross domestic product
- environmental factors such as high pollution and traffic
- The highest frequency of internet addiction was detected in the Middle East with a 10.9% internet addiction rate
- The lowest was in northern and western Europe with 2.6%.
The researchers explained that according to the survey and their analysis, internet addiction was more dominant for nations with a few key factors, such as:
- Greater traffic time consumption
- More pollution
- Higher dissatisfaction with life in general
In the publication it was noted that people may use the internet as a coping mechanism or an escape from the stress of the real world, which for anyone familiar with drug and alcohol abuse (or any kind of addiction for that matter) is understandable seeing as how many people who abuse drugs and/or alcohol state that as time moves on, they tend to use these substances as an escape from the complications they face in life. The authors of the report wrote,
“In the present cyber age, people may immerse themselves into the virtual world of the internet to escape from stress they experience in the real world. As the boundaries of the virtual and the real worlds become blurred, individuals who encounter more frequent real life problems have a greater motivation to use the internet as a coping mechanism.”
Past research has been suspected to link internet use to addiction, depression, or other behavioral and psychiatric problems, but not enough information to determine a causal relationship. In other words, internet addiction may not be the cause of these mental disorders, it may just be that people who have these problems may be more prone to escape online.
Smartphones in correlation with social media has helped bring the concern with internet addiction to the forefront of most people’s, and funny enough we read most of the information about it we find off the internet itself. While the studies continue to try and identify the contributing factors and common variables with internet addiction, others continue to speculate the real scope of this compulsions influence on our everyday lives.
Still, no matter how small 6% may seem, in the grand scheme of things that is a massive number in our world, and experts believe that as technology grows, that number will only grow with it.
While internet addiction may not be as noticeable in a society that thrives on technology and social media, it is a disorder that is growing as the social media does, and as with any powerful addiction, there is always help out there. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135