Hadi Daneshvar

Hadi is a Research Fellow based in the Faculty of Social Science, University of Stirling. His background is in the field of health informatics. His current research is on the delivery of technology to prevent overdose death for people in Scotland. He leads phase II of the Overdose Detection and Alert Technology (ODART) project which involved piloting and evaluating a responder application. He is also involved in the Digital Lifelines Scotland project which helps people at risk of drug-related death to connect digitally with those that care about them and services that support them.

Overdose prevention: low tech options and responder applications in the Scottish context

Scotland is experiencing escalating Drug Related Deaths (DRDs) with 1,339 in 2020, over three times that of Europe. We assessed the potential, feasibility and acceptability of different apps associated with overdose risk reduction for people who use drugs (PWUD)s including pulse oximetry and overdose responder apps.

A pulse oximetry project assessed the feasibility and acceptability of this technology to raise awareness of respiratory and cardiovascular health and overdose risks among PWUD accessing injecting equipment provision services in Aberdeen. Participation was good with 105 readings from 87 individuals. Some high-risk individuals were identified.

The Overdose Detection and Responder Alert Technologies programme identified preventative care digital solutions for those at risk of DRD by understanding the Scottish context and scoping overdose responder applications. Over half of DRDs occur when individuals are alone. Scoping identified twenty-two applications, grouped into 1)information applications, 2)responder applications, 3)naloxone carriers. The Brave app, a remote mobile application connecting PWUD with volunteer supporters when there is potential for overdose, was selected as being appropriate for Scottish context. This is being piloted in Aberdeen under the name “Here4UScotland” and aims to support up to 100 PWUD initially.

So far, the programme shows that different types of digital technologies have the potential to reduce the risk of DRD.