Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Hub (DxHub) partnered with the San Luis Obispo Opioid Safety Coalition to launch their web application Naloxone Now. The app allows San Luis Obispo community members to find the closest location to get naloxone, or to have it delivered to them at no cost.
Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal medicine. The medication attaches to opioid receptors in the brain to reverse and block the effects of other opioids.
The DxHub is a collaboration between Cal Poly and Amazon Web Services (AWS) where student employees work with public sector organizations to design solutions to the problems they are facing. Students can serve varying roles, such as project managers, graphic designers and software developers.
“The focus on naloxone was because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to use with minimal training required, which makes it ideal for those who don’t necessarily have any medical background and need to administer it quickly,” Reilly Salkowski, a software engineering senior, said in an email to Mustang News.
The San Luis Obispo Opioid Safety Coalition is composed of public and behavioral health officials, educators and community members that work to reduce the number of opioid overdoses in the county. Cal Poly professor Candace Winstead, from the Biological Sciences Department, is part of the coalition.
“They came to DxHub looking for a software solution to provide easy access to the opioid reversal drug Naloxone, without stigma, and provide opioid overdose education to non-traditional first responders, like friends, family and other community members,” Salkowski said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a 38.4% increase in fatal opioid overdoses in California, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s provisional data. In San Luis Obispo County, there were 43 reported fatal opioid overdoses in 2020.
When someone uses Naloxone Now requesting naloxone, they will fill out delivery information like their name, address and delivery notes. Users must also complete the NARCAN Administration and Opioid Overdose Response course before. Then, a kit including two doses of NARCAN naloxone nasal spray will be delivered to the address they provided. All information remains confidential and the address is only used to ship and deliver the naloxone.
“One struggle in creating the web app was designing an interface that was easy to navigate and only contained the most important information so that it could be used efficiently in case someone needed the information while trying to respond to an overdose,” Salkowski said.
Salkowski was one of four Cal Poly students who worked with DxHub staff to research and understand the problems and needs of the coalition. The other three students involved were alumni industrial engineering major Natali Markowitz ‘21, graphic communications major Chloe Heinz ‘21 and business administration major Danielle Knell ‘20.
With Naloxone Now being available to the public, Salkowski along with DxHub, AWS and the San Luis Obispo Safety Opioid Coalition are just waiting to spread the word so community members are aware of the web app.