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US Researchers Create a Wearable Device

US  researchers have developed a wearable device used to detect and reverse opioid overdoses, a potentially significant step in curbing a US local and national opioid epidemic that’s resulted in a record number of deaths this year.The device, worn on the stomach like an insulin pump, senses when a person stops breathing and moving, and then injects naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses.

Details about the device were published last week in a study in Scientific Reports. Justin Chan, a graduate student at the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering said that the opioid epidemic has become worse during the pandemic and has continued to be a major public health crisis. The researchers have created algorithms that run on a wearable injector to detect when the wearer stops breathing and automatically inject naloxone.

Fatal drug overdoses in the US soared to more than 93,000 last year, according to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics. This year, an estimated 100,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses, a “devastating” number health officials say is tied to the Covid-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply.

King County is on track to see the largest single-year increase in deaths linked to drug and alcohol overdoses in more than a decade. In Washington, more than any other year in at least the last decade, according to data from the state Department of Health. Fatal drug overdoses increased by more than 30% over 2019 – an increase more than twice as large as any other year in the past decade.

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