Alberto is a Post Doc research fellow at the University of St Andrews working on digital technologies for drug treatment and harm reduction. He is also lead for research and surveillance at the Addiction and Inclusion directorate of the Office for Health improvement and Disparities at the UK Department of Health. He is a clinical psychologist and holds a PhD in Criminology with the University of Amsterdam, where he conducted research on the population of crack cocaine users in the Netherlands. He has also worked at the Scientific Division of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in Lisbon.
Scoping of overdose alert and response technologies (ODART) and views of those at risk
Background: Administering naloxone for opioid overdose (OD) is a highly effective life-saving intervention if carried within a short time window from the appearance of symptoms. Emerging technologies can prompt a quicker response to administer naloxone as soon as the first OD symptoms appear.
Methods: We conducted a systematic state-of-the-art search of the scientific and grey literature for sensor-based OD alert technologies, contacting relevant developers. We then classified and made a qualitative assessment of technologies found. We conducted four focus groups, two with people with lived experience (PWLE) and two with service providers and analysed the data through thematic analysis.
Findings: 27 devices were selected, 20 of which were designed or being used as OD-specific. Devices were classified as: a) Room-based, b) wearables, c) closed-loop, d) supervised call/app and further described according to physiological measures, and others.
These technologies were well-received by PWLE and service providers. Room-based Technologies were considered easy to implement but not sufficient. The use of smartphones is not generalised and digital inclusion and training along with any intervention is necessary. Discreteness, data privacy and safety of users and responders were regarded as key for these technologies to gain acceptance.