NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Nearly 180 people in the United States die each day of opioid overdoses.
As the death toll continues to climb, some communities are searching for creative ways to battle addiction. Ohio has even put out a call for ideas.
Kelly Cashion has seen the devastation caused by opioids in her own backyard. Now, the University of Dayton researcher is using technology to do something about it.
She and her team are developing a neuro-feedback program that examines brain activity to help people recovering from addition.
“You monitor brain activity, and then you show the user – or the patient – what’s happening in a specific portion of their brain and ask them to either amplify that activity or regulate that activity,” she explained.
Innovative solutions like Cashion’s were exactly what Ohio was looking for when they put out the call for ideas to battle the opioid epidemic.
“We think that a great idea can come from anywhere and we wanted to be able to put together a process and an opportunity for people to be able to bring their solutions to us to be evaluated,” David Goodman, director of Ohio Development Services Agency, said.
Hundreds of ideas poured in from average citizens, scientists and health care providers around the world. Top solutions range from an addiction assessment app that would identify patients who are at high risk for opioid abuse, to an augmented reality system that helps patients rehab from an injury without pain medication.
Others include a mindfulness-based smoking cessation therapy that’s adapted for opioid addition and a virtual reality program to prevent addiction in teens and young adults.
They all share the goal of growing these ideas to help the addicts, families and communities affected by opioid abuse.
“I think there’s every reason to be optimistic that we’re going to be turning this around over the next several years,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director of Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services.
“It’s affecting people’s lives – real people’s lives – families, children, parents,” Goodman added.
The next phase of the opioid technology challenge will be to find business and investment partners to help push out the ideas nationally — and not just one idea, because it will take different approaches to help different people.