The number of opioid overdose deaths far exceeds hoped for. It is therefore necessary to intervene, trying to drastically change the situation.
A group of scientists from the University of Washington recently developed a automatic injector, able to administer a dose of naloxone to those at risk of overdose.
The device, currently being tested, could save an impressive number of lives, restoring peace of mind in many families.
"This wearable auto-injector may have the potential to reduce opioid overdose deaths," says Prof. Shyam Gollakota, co-author of an article on research. "We hope it will have a tangible impact on a great source of suffering in this country."
Naloxone in response to opiate overdose
Justin Chan, the PhD student who led the research on the development of the new one prototype, he relied on the power of Naloxone.
This substance is believed to be incredibly effective against opiate overdose, so much so that it is used by all paramedics. The action of Naloxone the more positive the more timely the injection is. Action must be taken immediately, as soon as the first respiratory disorders occur.
And this is exactly what the new device designed by the University is for. Alone, it deals with revealing the effects of overdose from opiates and immediately give a naloxone injection.
The current prototype uses a retractable needle to deliver a subcutaneous injection of naloxone using an integrated reservoir. The needle activates when the device reveals signs of respiratory failure, as a preventative from opioid overdose.
The results recorded by the wearable device they can be transmitted via Bluetooth to a smartphone nearby, so as to be able to alert the person himself or an external assistant.
Experimentation and Results
To verify the correct functionality of the opioid overdose device, a trial was carried out.
Twenty-five subjects decided to independently test the prototype, wearing it in contact with their skin. The subjects participated in the study in a secure facility, a supervised injection building in Vancouver, so that doctors could intervene promptly in the event of negative responses.
During the test, 20 subjects simulated opiate-induced respiratory failure by holding their breath. The device he answered correctly in all twenty cases, giving them an injection of naloxone.
Currently, scientists are trying to make the injector smaller and less visible so they can actually commercialize it.
If the project were to prove successful, hundreds of lives would be saved.