Opioid use in the US has reached “epidemic” proportions, with an estimated 12.3 million misusing opiate medication, and the rate of drug overdose deaths increasing at an annual rate of 18% across the country. Ohio has been particularly affected by the growing Opioid crisis, evidencing two-and-a-half times the rate of the national average in deaths attributable to opioid overdose.
Managing cravings for opiates is a major challenge faced by those in recovery, as cravings precede sobriety lapses and a return to regular opiate use. Clinicians face the challenge of helping clients manage triggers for opioid craving that are quickly changing, and difficult to identify in the period between treatment sessions.
In an effort to improve the effectiveness of opioid treatment, a multidisciplinary team of researchers consisting of Drs. Yaroslavsky (Psychology), Hurtado-Rua (Mathematics), Zhao (Electrical and Computer Engineering), and Lewandowski (Social Work) seeks to arm clinicians and those in recovery with near real-time information on triggers for opioid craving and risk for sobriety lapses through cellular phone technology. Their project aims to create an automated statistical algorithm and mobile phone application interface (CuTrack) to provide clinicians with their clients’ trigger constellations for opioid cravings, and to render intervention to clients in between treatment sessions, a time when intervention is most needed. Led by Drs. Yaroslavsky (Principal Investigator) and Hurtado-Rua (Co-Principal Investigator), the group attained $252,819 in funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
You can find more details on this project here.