Substance misuse affects millions of people from all walks of life. The impact of drug misuse is significant not only on patients, but also on their families, friends and the healthcare system at large. In particular, the rate of opioid addiction has skyrocketed over the last 5 years, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and millions of patients addicted to prescription opioids and increasingly heroin and fentanyl.
Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old — killing roughly 64,000 people in 2016, at a pace faster than the H.I.V. epidemic did at its peak.1 In October 2017, the opioid crisis was declared a national public health emergency.2
Approximately 45% of Americans personally know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers.3 For family and friends to play an effective and active role in the recovery process, attention must be shifted from not only supporting the individual, but to also supporting the broader network of family and friends that are affected physically, mentally, and financially.4
Both healthcare organizations and local and federal institutions are taking action to help reverse the trends of opioid misuse. We're calling on you- innovators, entrepreneurs, and technologists to join the fight.
What tech-enabled tools can you develop to help support and connect those affected by opioid addiction?