National Consumer News

FDA seeks app to help opioid overdose victims


Ryan Biek

Video transcript provided by

A coding competition could be the Food and Drug Administration’s second most powerful tool to keep overdose victims from dying.

The most powerful tool would be naloxone, a potent antidote used when a person overdoses on opioids such as heroin or painkillers.

“You can actually resurrect someone. … It’ll save, we estimate, thousands of lives a year,” a spokesman for the National Institute on Drug Abuse said.

The problem is that some states require a prescription for the drug. Experts say that when a person has overdosed, time is critical.

The FDA announced a competition Monday to create a mobile app connecting those in need of the antidote to people nearby who have naloxone prescriptions.

The idea has been compared to Yelp, but instead of saying a that restaurant is 0.2 miles away, it could tell a user that someone four doors down has the drug.

The winner, or winners, of the competition will take home $40,000. The FDA is encouraging participants to collaborate before submitting functional prototypes in November.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called opioid overdoses an epidemic, and the FDA reports that 28,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014 alone.

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