This Wristband Fights Opiate CrisisDamien Moye
So did you hear? This is the third year in a row the US life expectancy rate declined. This is the first time this happened since the 1910s, the decade of World War 1 and the Spanish Flu. Many say this is because of the drug crisis, especially opiates. But there is IT support technology that wants to help fight this crisis. This wristband fights opiate crisis.
The name of this wristband is HopeBand. It detects low blood oxygen levels, a huge sign of drug overdoses. Then it sounds an alarm if this happens and if the person is in danger. A team of students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh invented HopeBand. In an interview,HopeBand co-founder Rashmi Kalkunte compared HopeBand to a friend who knows when you’re in imminent danger. Then the friend will call for help when danger comes.
But it does more than sound the alarm. It also gives the wearer’s current location and address. This alert can do two things. It can give the wearer ample time to call, give the dispatcher the exact location, and tell them the exact emergency. It can also give them time to to take naloxone. That’s a medicine that reverses the overdose. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) did approve HopeBand. It also won third prize at a prestigious Health 2.0 conference in September 2018. They’re already giving these wristbands out for free to opiate users in exchange for their needles. This is part of a local prevention program in Pittsburgh. But the ultimate dream is to sell them for around $20 a piece to the public everywhere.
This is how this wristband fights opiate crisis. It couldn’t have come at a more urgent time. The statistics are alarming and heartbreaking. Opiate addiction tripled from what it was in 2000. In 2017 alone, around 72,000 people died from drug overdoses, 30,000 of them from Fentanyl. Let’s put this in perspective. Some 72,000 Americans died from opiates in a year. That’s more than the entire amount of Americans soldiers killed during the nine years of involvement in the Vietnam War. That’s how real this epidemic is and I’m glad a young IT service firm is doing something about it. Can this wristband fight the opiate crisis?