REDUCING FENTANYL-RELATED DEATHS, ONE PUMP AT A TIME

Fentanyl is a strong synthetic narcotic — about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine — and is typically prescribed to control severe pain. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl has been mixed with other street drugs and illegally sold in various forms such as pills and powders mixed into other drugs (e.g. cocaine, crystal meth, etc.). People who use drugs (PWUD) are at a higher risk of overdosing when using any substance containing fentanyl. Canada has seen a spike in fentanyl-related deaths, triggering a Public Health Emergency in some provinces. Naloxone is an effective antidote to control fentanyl-related overdoses and kits are available as part of overdose prevention strategies in some provinces, including Alberta. This antidote can be applied intramuscular (IM) by using specific doses based on overdose signs and symptoms. Innovators will be challenged to design a device for detecting and monitoring specific symptoms related to overdose (low body temperature, movement, blood oxygen levels, etc.) and delivering naloxone treatments if needed while also notifying medical personnel.