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New Phone App May Help With Opiate Addiction

A clinical trial has begun to see whether monitoring by an artificial intelligence may help reduce opiate addiction.

Addiction is very complex and very hard for many people to overcome. There are many obstacles involved in addiction that cause addicts to relapse or never try to fully get clean. They go on living a life addicted to a substance because they are afraid of withdrawal or are not educated about other options they may have. One such option for people addicted to opiates is medication therapy. I feel medication therapy should be the last resort. If an addict is unable to get clean after trying other alternatives, then it may be an option for them to try a medication such as Suboxone or Methadone. One of the many problems with medication therapy is that many patients don't take their medications correctly either by dosage or at the correct times. When any of these things happen, the recovering addict is not benefiting from the medication therapy and in some cases making their situation worse. I also don't like the idea of switching one medication for another. I've seen it happen countless times. An addict will get off of their painkillers, and get addicted to another drug such as Xanax, or Suboxone/Methadone.

A new app has been created that may help with addiction called AiCure. The company that has created the app uses advanced facial recognition and motion-sensing technology that can detect, in real time, whether a person is taking their medication as prescribed without the need for human supervision. Patients who take incorrect doses or do not use the software are automatically flagged for an immediate follow-up. This app will not allow people to misuse or distribute their medications illegally which will be an amazing breakthrough for society.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has provided $1 million in funding to test the new App.  The trial is being carried out with the Cincinnati Addiction Research Center at the University of Cincinnati and includes a total of 130 participants over the course of 12 months. Preliminary results of the trial are expected to be published in August 2015.

If the findings prove to be successful, this may open up the doors for much more advanced and useful technology. If the facial recognition and motion-detecting platforms prove to be successful, you can expect law enforcement to take advantage of this technology. What can prove to be even more practical is hospitals being able to use similar technology. Even worried parents who feel their children as abusing opiates may use this. Imagine teenagers coming home from a long night out with friends having to pass an instantaneous field sobriety test by looking into their parent's smartphone camera. The future is going to be very interesting with technology, and hopefully it can help to curb some of the opiate abuse our nation is facing.


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