Help Design an Opioid Recovery App for SAMHSA

By John Lavitt 04/05/16

SAMHSA is looking for developers to create a mobile app featuring relapse prevention tips, drug information for Suboxone users, relationship help and more.

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Help Design an Opioid Recovery App for SAMHSA
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Do you have an idea for an app that could help those in opioid recovery? There might be a $15,000 grand prize with your name on it.

The government has issued a challenge to smartphone app developers to create a mobile app that will support patients recovering from opioid use disorder—specifically for those receiving outpatient medication-assisted treatment (MAT). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration plans to award over $30,000 in prizes for the top-winning app entries.

Fatal overdoses from opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers, are now the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. The goal of the SAMHSA competition is to equip people in recovery with qualitative and engaging educational resources.

Similar to how there are apps that help people manage diabetes, people in opioid recovery could benefit from the convenience of an app as well. 

To guide developers in the process of creating an app that caters to MAT patients, SAMHSA lists five features that people in opioid recovery may need:

1. Side effects Side effect and drug interaction information for methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone that can be accessed 24/7.

2. Common recovery issues Information on common issues that arise during opioid recovery such as dealing with triggers, repairing relationships, problems sleeping, and managing time and money.

3. Relapse prevention Ways to recognize triggers and provide a fast and convenient way for people to access support groups, whether they're online or in person. 

4. Constant support Motivational reminders, like photos and quotes, that help a patient stay focused on why they chose recovery. 

5. Good health habits A way to support users in maintaining a healthy lifestyle as they juggle personal, work, and treatment schedules.     

Although there are already several apps on the market that provide recovery support, SAMHSA sees the need for a proprietary app that addresses the specific challenges of MAT in early recovery.

The deadline is May 28. You can find more information, including rules and eligibility, here.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.