Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub collaborates with San Luis Obispo County on launch of web application for

Author: Behavioral Health

Date: 1/25/2022 9:01:44 AM

The Cal Poly student team helped design a web application that allows free delivery of naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose.


In an effort to reduce the number of opioid-related deaths in San Luis Obispo County, local health officials, in collaboration with Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub), powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), and a team of college students, are launching a new app that could save spirits.

With the Naloxone Now app, members of the community can find the nearest location to get naloxone — a drug that reverses opioid overdose — or have naloxone delivered to their door at no cost.

The San Luis Obispo County Department of Behavioral Health launched a web app today that provides lifesaving resources on how to prevent opioid (pain relievers and heroin) overdose.

It was built with the help of DxHub and a team of Cal Poly students using AWS’ cloud-based tools and Amazon Work Backwards innovation methodology.

The SLO County Department of Behavioral Health and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition, created in 2016 to address the local opioid epidemic, brought the challenge to DxHub as a way to combat the local opioid epidemic.

Opioid abuse is a national epidemic. In recent years, death rates from these drugs, including both prescription and illegal drugs, have risen across the country to above 75,000 per year, or 207 per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s provisional data.

Opioid abuse is a complex problem. It affects a wide range of society and cuts across income and age groups making prevention measures difficult to target and treat. California had 5,502 opioid-related deaths in 2020.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, fatal overdoses of opioids have increased by more than 30% nationally, with increases occurring in every state. In San Luis Obispo County, the death toll doubled from 21 in 2019 to 55 in 2020. According to the American Medical Association, the rise in deaths is likely due to the increased presence of fentanyl in illegal substances. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times stronger.

To help save lives, naloxone may be used when an individual is overdosing on opioids. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids. Naloxone can quickly restore a person’s normal breathing if their breathing slows or stops due to an opioid overdose.

The web app provides people with access to training in response to opioid overdose and a free package of naloxone delivered discreetly to their homes. This enables people to be prepared, able and equipped to respond to an overdose event which can save their lives.

The app is the result of a collaboration between DxHub and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition, made up of social service providers, law enforcement, clinicians, substance use disorder professionals, harm reduction organizations, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Health and Behavioral Health officials, educators, and other community members , including Cal Poly Professor Candice Winstead of the Department of Biological Sciences, are working to tackle the local opioid epidemic.

“Thanks to DxHub, members of our community will have access to naloxone and learn how to administer it without fear of stigma or judgment,” said Jenn Rhoads, SLO Opioid Safety Coalition Coordinator. “We’ll be able to get naloxone into the hands of anyone who needs it, whether they’re struggling with addiction themselves or trying to protect a friend, family member, or neighbor.”

The multidisciplinary student team worked with DxHub staff to research and understand the alliance’s problem and needs, and collaborated with the certified AWS Cloud Practitioner team to design the solution. Students included: Natalie Markowitz of Boca Raton, Florida (MSc, Engineering Management, 21; Industrial Engineering, 21); Chloe Haynes of San Diego (Graphic Communications, 21); Daniel Knell of San Jose, California (Business Administration, Information Systems District, 20); and Reilly Salkowski, chief software engineer from Tucson, Arizona.

“DxHub’s mission is to use software to help make an impact on society,” said Riley Salkowski. “With open source solutions like these, developers can build on each other’s technologies to make the world a better place.”

According to Paul Jurassin, Director of DxHub, students are the driving force behind the success of DxHub. “The students keep the inspiration alive,” he said. “You see the lamp running, and you know something wonderful is coming.”

For more information, please contact Matt Lazier at 805-756-7109; [email protected] or Jane Rhodes in 805-781-1195; [email protected]

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More details:

Watch our Youtube video featuring SLO Opioid Coalition Coordinator, Jenn Rhoads, and Cal Poly DxHub Student Employee, Reilly Salkowski.

Access the NaloxoneNow online app at naloxonenowslo.org

Show the app design for this solution on DxHub.

View the case study of this solution on AWS.

About the Opioid Safety Alliance SLO

The SLO Opioid Safety Coalition, backed by the San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health District, was formed in 2016 by a group of concerned community organizations, first responders, health care professionals, and social service providers to reduce the local impact of opioid use and prescription drug misuse. in San Luis Obispo County. The Alliance uses a variety of strategies to reduce opioid use and risks, enhance access to harm reduction and treatment services and increase collaboration to improve community support services. Learn more about the alliance at opioidsafetyslo.org

About Cal Poly Digital Transformation Center

Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Center (DxHub) was one of the oldest collaborations between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and an educational institution focused on innovation and digital transformation. While providing students with real-world learning experiences, DxHub applies innovative, proven methodologies combined with deep public sector substantive expertise and AWS technical expertise to solve challenging problems in ways never thought of before. For more information, visit https://dxhub.calpoly.edu

About Cal Poly

Founded in 1901 and part of the popular California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a public, nationally ranked, four-year polytechnic university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its philosophy of learning by doing, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinguished learning community of nearly 22,000 academically motivated students with unrivaled hands-on learning experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.

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