WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBN) – The Food and Drug Administration is turning to technology to help fight in the opioid epidemic in America.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, a public contest focused on developing innovative technologies to combat the rising epidemic of opioid overdose.
The FDA, along with other federal agencies is inviting computer programmers, public health advocates, clinical researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators from all disciplines to create a mobile phone application that can connect opioid users experiencing an overdose with nearby carriers of the prescription drug naloxone – the antidote for an opioid overdose – thereby increasing the likelihood of timely administration and overdose reversal.
“With a dramatic increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the U.S., there’s a vital need to harness the power of new technologies to quickly and effectively link individuals experiencing an overdose – or a bystander such as a friend or family member – with someone who carries and can administer the life-saving medication,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “Through this competition, we are tapping public health-focused innovators to help bring technological solutions to a real-world problem that is costing the U.S. thousands of lives each year.”
According to SAMHSA, nearly two million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2014.
Additionally, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine and illicit opioids, such as heroin and illegally produced fentanyl, have more than tripled since 1999 – with about 28,000 people dying in 2014 alone.
Many of these deaths could have been avoided if people experiencing an overdose had immediately received naloxone to stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Teams and individuals wishing to participate in the competition will have until Oct. 7, 2016 to register.
On Oct. 19-20, 2016, the FDA will host a two-day code-a-thon on the FDA campus and virtually for registered entrants to develop their concepts and initial prototypes.
All code will be made open-source and publicly accessible, and collaboration will be encouraged.
Competition participants will then independently refine their concept and submit a video of a functional prototype along with a brief summary of their concept for the development and use of the app by Nov. 7, 2016.
A panel of judges from the FDA, NIDA, and SAMHSA will evaluate submissions and the highest-scoring entrant will receive an award of $40,000. Following the competition, entrants also may apply for NIDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to further develop their concepts and to develop data to evaluate their real-world impact.