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Contest aims to reduce opioid overdoses

by Britt E. Erickson
September 26, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 38

FDA and other federal agencies want to help opioid users experiencing an overdose—or their family and friends—quickly find a nearby carrier of the prescription antidote naloxone. To do that, they have formed the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, offering a chance to win $40,000 for developing a mobile phone application. The contest builds on a federal initiative to make naloxone more accessible; the drug can reverse an opioid overdose if administered in a timely fashion. Naloxone is only available in the U.S. by prescription, but in some states it is more accessible to first responders, community organizations, and friends or families of opioid users. People who have access to the drug, however, are not always present during an overdose. “The goal of this competition is to develop a low-cost, scalable, crowdsourced mobile application that addresses this issue of accessibility,” says Peter Lurie, associate commissioner for public health strategy and analysis at FDA. Teams and individuals who want to participate in the competition must register with FDA by Oct. 7.

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