Daneshvar H, Matheson C, Perez A & Baldacchino A (2022) Overdose Detection Alert and Responder Technology (ODART) Project. Overdose detection and responder alert technologies: transforming preventative care for those most at risk of drug-related death. https://digitallifelines.scot/media/1153/final-report-v2.pdf
Globally, there were an estimated 167,000 deaths related to drug use disorders in 2017 (UNODC, 2021), with opioids accounting for about two-thirds of these deaths. Countries in North America and Northern Europe have particularly high rates of drug overdoses (EMCDDA, 2021).
Scotland has the most severe Drug-Related Deaths (DRD) problem in Europe, almost four times the number of DRD in the EU. There were 1330 deaths in 2021 connected to people in vulnerable communities who use unregulated street drugs. Each death is a personal tragedy for them, their friends and families, and their communities. And many of them are preventable.
Deaths from drug overdoses can be prevented if acted upon quickly. Administering naloxone, an opioid antagonist, to a person suffering from an opioid overdose is a highly effective life-saving intervention if carried out in time. Therefore, the development of technologies to detect an overdose and alert first responders is of crucial importance.
In 2019 Prof Catriona Matheson reported, in a scoping review for Aberdeen City Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP), the available and emerging technological solutions that could help address DRD in Scotland. Findings were presented at a meeting of senior stakeholders, facilitated by the Drugs Research Network for Scotland (DRNS). This scoping work identified several technological solutions
developed internationally and in Scotland, that could help reduce drug-related deaths and are worthy of further exploration and testing in the Scottish context.
In October 2020, the DRNS secured funding from the Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Directorate Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care (TEC) Program and the ODART was launched in February 2021. The ODART programme, is a partnership between the University of Stirling and St Andrews University and is supported by the Digital Lifelines Scotland and the DRNS.
This is a final summary report on the ODART programme focussing on impact and subsequent initiatives. A previous report covered the review of devices and technologies available. This is available on the ODART website [https://odart.stir.ac.uk].