Ohio is One Step Closer to Finding New Solutions in the Battle Against Drug Abuse and Addiction

Feb 23, 2018 | News, Newsletter

Lisa Colbert
Ohio Development Services Agency

Ohio has reached a milestone in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge with the conclusion of the Idea Phase and the awarding of prize money for the five most innovative concepts to address drug abuse and addiction. Ohio put out a call for anyone with a technology solution to share their idea. Hundreds of average citizens, researchers, caregivers and service providers from across Ohio, the U.S. and nine countries participated, submitting bold and creative ideas that identify ways to accelerate solutions.

“Ohio put out the call for new ideas and people from across the world responded,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission. “This issue affects countless individuals, families and communities, so we’re thrilled by the level of response and excited to move these ideas forward and save lives.”

Recently, Ohio Governor John R. Kasich called for Ohio Third Frontier funding to accelerate scientific and technological breakthroughs that could help combat the U.S. opioid problem. The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge leverages $8 million of a $20 million commitment to advance new ideas and find new technology-based solutions. The Challenge is a multi-phase, multi-million-dollar prize competition with escalating prize amounts associated with progressive levels of solution development.

The top five ideas from this first phase of the Challenge received $10,000 prizes:

Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge Idea Phase Prize Recipients

Judson Brewer (Worcester, Massachusetts) suggested a digital therapeutic centered on the psychological theory of mindfulness, adapted from his nationally-known Craving to Quit program. The idea would apply this program to opioid addiction and bridge the gap between currently-available treatments and developing new digital solutions.

Kinematechs LLC (Cincinnati, Ohio) Yong Pei and the team at Kinametechs suggested an augmented reality (AR)-based interactive coaching system. The idea would use motion tracking technologies to customize a patient’s physical rehabilitation routine and enhance the results of therapy. This improved physical rehabilitation would reduce a patient’s need for prescription pain medication and lessen their potential for addiction.

Lee Barrus (Orem, Utah) and the team at InteraSolutions suggested an opioid risk assessment screening app to identify patients with risk factors for opioid abuse. The idea would enable medical professionals to flag at-risk patients and direct them towards alternative methods of pain management, preventing a potential path towards opioid dependence.

The Edification Project (Boston, Massachusetts) team suggested a virtual reality (VR) technology focused on preventing addiction in teens and young adults. The idea would make these groups aware of the risks and dangers associated with opioids and help frame their attitudes toward avoiding opioid abuse.

The University of Dayton Research Institute (Dayton, Ohio) suggested Kelly Cashion’s research in neurofeedback be applied to medical technology that uses neurological sensors to provide real-time information to patients about their brain activity. The idea would empower patients to better understand the effects of addiction on their brains, take back control, and accelerate their path towards recovery.

The second stage of the Challenge will begin in late February and run through July 2018. This second phase will seek out the expertise of the business and innovation community to help advance technology challenges into solutions. In the final phase of the Challenge, the most promising solutions will receive funding to refine and cultivate the solution into a product.

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JobsOhio’s grant, secured with assistance from the Regional Growth Partnership, will support a planned $321,923 in machinery and equipment upgrades and three new jobs. In addition, Tiffin Foundry and Machine worked with Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and OhioMeansJobs – Seneca County on other potential incentives to support the company’s growth.

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