Alexis Roth

Dr. Alexis M. Roth is an Associate Professor based at Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA, USA). Her background is in the development of community-based interventions to detect & prevent infectious diseases among people who use drugs. Her current research explores how mobile health tools can improve the delivery of naloxone. She led a project to evaluate the use of a commercially available biosensor to detect opioid overdoses in ambulatory settings and was a co-investigator on UnityPhilly: a smartphone application to connect lay first responders to overdoses in real-time. She is currently co-leading a team to develop a wearable device that will auto-inject naloxone.

UnityPhilly: developments of a local smartphone application that facilitates community response to opioid overdoses and related testing of a wearable biosensor

Rapid naloxone administration is crucial in reversing an opioid overdose. This talk will describe two recent feasibility trials using mobile health (mHealth) tools to improve overdose detection and naloxone delivery. The first trial, UnityPhilly, investigated whether equipping lay volunteers, including people who use opioids, with a smartphone application enabling them to signal and respond to suspected overdose would support naloxone delivery. Over 12-months, a cohort including 57 PWUO and 55 community members, signaled 291 suspected overdoses and administered naloxone during 74 cases; successful reversal was reported in 96% of cases. Volunteers arrived on scene an average of 5 minutes before emergency medical services in 60% of cases. The second trial investigated whether a commercially available biosensor could monitor physiological response to opioid poisoning among 15 people who inject opioids (PWID) enrolled in UnityPhilly. Participants were asked to wear the tag for 5-days. Respiratory rate was captured for 1626.4 of 1800 possible follow-up hours. No instances of acute respiratory depression were detected. Qualitative interviews suggest the mHealth tools were acceptable to participants in both trials. Findings support the benefits of equipping community members with mHealth tools to improve reduce opioid-related fatalities.