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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Opioid Recovery App Challenge

recovery app
It is important to recognize what advancements in technology have done for our understanding of addiction; scientists work tirelessly using the latest scientific techniques to break through boundaries that were once puzzling. While understanding the nature of addiction is of the utmost importance, utilizing technology can prove helpful to those who are in addiction recovery. Social media sites allow recovering addicts and alcoholics all over the world to connect with each other in real time. The larger the support network, the greater the resources at the disposal of those in recovery.

The internet is also a great place for not just people in recovery, but for those who are interested in learning about their options for breaking the cycle of addiction. What’s more, the pervasive nature of smartphone technology could actually allow for the development of tools that can assist those in recovery when times get tough and relapse lurks on the horizon.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has been drawing a lot of attention to what’s known as medication assisted treatment (MAT). The treatment involves the use of either buprenorphine, naltrexone or methadone. MAT is often used in outpatient settings, involving the behavioral therapy in conjunction with one of the two aforementioned drugs.

While SAMHSA supports the use of MAT, the agency recognizes that relapse is still a possibility and if you are familiar with the language of smartphone application programming - you may be able to help. SAMHSA has begun an app development contest, calling on programmers to develop smart tools to aid people involved in MAT. On SAMHSA's website the agency writes:

“People in outpatient MAT could benefit from a mobile app for smartphones that provides features and information that supports their maintenance in recovery.”

Below is a list of suggestions SAMHSA has provided to assist developers who choose to take part Opioid Recovery App Challenge:
  • Access to 24/7 drug side effects and interaction information.
  • Information about common issues recovering opioid addicts might face, i.e. triggers.
  • Techniques for recognizing behaviors that could lead to relapse.
  • Motivational elements that inspire recovering addicts to stay the course.
  • A list of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.
The team that develops the best app can win up to $15,000. For information about the rules and requirements, please click here.

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