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.
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.