From an app that can help people recover from opioid addiction to a special device that helps opioid-exposed newborns, the state of Ohio is supporting new solutions to help combat the drug epidemic sweeping the nation.

The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, using funding from Ohio’s Third Frontier Fund, doled out more than $2 million in prize money on Tuesday to organizations from both the United States and Canada, hoping their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic could help bring it to an end.

More than 50 organizations from around the world applied for the funding, but only twelve organizations received prizes of $200,000 from the state. Here are five of the most interesting proposals that will receive the prize money:

Treating babies exposed to opioids

Prapela, Inc. of Concord, Massachusetts is developing a device to treat newborns experiencing postnatal opioid withdrawal. According to the prize announcement, the device involves “placing the newborn on a specially designed vibrating pad to reduce hyperirritability and improve normal breathing and heartbeats.”

Remote monitoring 

Brave Technology Coop of Vancouver, Canada is creating a remote monitoring system for people who use drugs in isolation. According to the prize announcement, this will give people struggling with addiction tools like a mobile app to provide community support. They are also developing a wearable device to provide early signs of an opioid overdose, according to the announcement. 

A glove that detects opioids

The University of Akron is developing a glove that changes color when it comes into contact with opioids, according to the announcement. First responders could take actions according to the glove’s color, helping to reduce stress and potentially save lives, according to the announcement. 

Connecting to providers electronically

Apportis LLC of Dublin, Ohio has created “an integrated platform that allows patients to connect electronically to licensed healthcare professionals and opioid addiction resources, as a complement to medication-assisted therapies.” According to the announcement, this will lessen the distance between patients and providers and allows more personalized support for patients in times of need.

An app for recovery

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a smartphone app to help prevent relapses for people in recovery, according to the prize announcement. This would provide emotional support and increase a patient’s recovery motivation and is used “in collaboration with treatment agencies to provide clinicians with insights into patients' progress between visits.”

A full list of prizes can be found on the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge website. The 12 prizes represent the second phase, or the challenge phase, of the initiative, with the first having been the idea phase. The final phase of the initiative, the product phase, will launch this month, according to the website.

@leckronebennett

bl646915@ohio.edu

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