Fighting the opioid crisis by design

Technology solutions as innovative systems for advancing communities of care against overdose deaths

Authors

  • Sebastian Ramirez Loaiza University of Cincinnati
  • Claudia B. Rebola University of Cincinnati

Keywords:

Overdoses, Community-led, Harm-reduction, Opioid crisis

Abstract

The epidemic of opiate overdose deaths has continued to advance in the United States, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state of Ohio is at the centre of the nation’s opioid crisis, with one of the highest rates of overdose deaths. Ohio’s approach to fighting the opioid crisis involves several items as part of the RecoveryOhio plan, including increasing accessibility of naloxone in communities and promoting harm reduction through education. Various state programmes exist for distributing naloxone, but these are not sufficient for the magnitude of the crisis. Moreover, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are oversaturated with calls concerning overdoses. The opioid epidemic has scaled to proportions where the country is in dire need of innovative solutions. This paper describes innovative community-based solutions for fighting the epidemic. Two pilots are described in detail: NaloxBox and AntiOD. These pilots involved collaborations between experts in emergency medicine and industrial design, trainers in overdose recognition and rescue, and community agencies and municipalities to design and launch systems for providing community access to naloxone so that lay people can rescue overdose victims in advance of the arrival of EMS. These pilots are design-led projects, implemented in communities, which aim not only to educate individuals about naloxone administration but also to empower communities to act and save lives. This model leverages technologies to bridge the access gaps and comply with the requirements of different stakeholders and state regulations while sharing the responsibility of saving lives from opiate overdose.

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Published

06-11-2022

How to Cite

Ramirez Loaiza, S., & Rebola, C. B. (2022). Fighting the opioid crisis by design : Technology solutions as innovative systems for advancing communities of care against overdose deaths. DISCERN: International Journal of Design for Social Change, Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 3(2), 97–107. Retrieved from https://www.designforsocialchange.org/journal/index.php/DISCERN-J/article/view/95