If you or your loved ones have ever struggled with drug addiction, you’re probably already well aware of the dangers of overdoses. Though not always fatal, they’re extremely risky, to say the least.
Unfortunately, many overdoses are completely accidental and take place in private with nobody around to rectify the situation. That’s where “Second Chance” comes in. It’s a new app developed by a team of scientists based in the University of Washington, and it is designed specifically to save lives that otherwise might be lost to opioid overdoses.
The app uses sonar technology to measure your breathing, and according to researchers, it already has a solid success rate. The app was used in a “legal supervised consumption site” in Vancouver, Canada known as “Insite.” At Insite, 94 consenting participants prepared and injected opioids.
Of that number, 47 participants had a breathing rate of seven breaths-per-minute, 49 stopped breathing for a “significant period,” and two experienced an actual overdose event which required prompt medical attention.
According to the University of Washington’s official news website, Second Chance managed to detect these overdose symptoms “90 percent of the time.” Though the testing was only performed on a relatively small group of people, it’s clear that the app has potential.
If Second Chance was used in the wild, it would require a user to confirm that they’re alive and well via an on-screen prompt. If they hit “no” or don’t respond at all, the app will automatically contact either emergency services or a “trusted friend.”
Only time will tell if Second Chance can prove effective throughout additional, more widespread testing.