Projects using technology such as AI or drones to help prevent fatal overdoses have been awarded a share of £5m funding from the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.
The projects will explore how AI wearable technologies can detect overdoses and alert healthcare professionals or family members to provide lifesaving care, or how naloxone can be dispersed via drone. Twelve projects will receive funding from the Office for Life Sciences, as part of the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge. The projects will operate across the whole of the UK.
Eleven of the projects have been awarded up to £100,000 each to develop prototypes, with grants of up to £500,000 available for 12-month follow-on demonstration projects to collate real-world evidence. Among the projects are a chest-worn biosensor that can detect the onset of life-threatening respiratory depression and which alerts emergency services and nearby carriers of naloxone, a controlled-release patch for naloxone and flumazenil delivery, and a handheld device for self-monitoring benzo use.
‘It is truly inspiring to see some of the innovative solutions that are being supported through the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge and the partnership between the chief scientist’s office in the Scottish Government and the UK government’s Office for Life Sciences’ said the Scottish Government’s chief scientific advisor for health Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak. ‘Utilising the expertise in Scotland and across the rest of the UK we can continue to deliver results in harm reduction, developing truly impactful innovations and driving prevention initiatives, having a hugely positive impact both across the UK and globally.’
Full list of projects here