Ivy Tech beta tests new app aimed at helping with opioid epidemic

NOW: Ivy Tech beta tests new app aimed at helping with opioid epidemic

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The pandemic saw higher than normal opioid-related overdoses and now there’s a new tool that could help.

About a dozen people came to First United Methodist Church Wednesday to test the Naxos Neighbors app. The app is meant to help reduce the number of overdose deaths here in Michiana, and across the country.

The app is actually quite easy. If someone is overdosing they can push the help button in the program and the notification will be sent out to a responder with Narcan - up to 10 miles away.

Approximately 40% of overdoses happen with a bystander present but less than 5% of the time does that person call 911 - that’s according to the CEO of Naxos Neighbors, an app meant to help this issue with just one click.

“The one-button click basically helps people to find the nearest responder. The nearest responder clicks the notification and it gives them the exact location right then and their gps looks for the quickest route," James Anunda, one of the apps engineers said.

And it’s anonymous! The responder can be anyone trained and with Narcan on hand. Narcan can then save a life.

"The goal was that community members wanted to help fight against the opioid crisis, just not knowing how. So we kind of put ourselves in the middle ground," Anunda said.

But what happens if there are no nearby responders? That’s when you call 911.

"We don’t want people to assume that we’re just going to take 911 and ems spotlight in drug overdose," he said. "The goal is to not only help people who don’t want to call law enforcement, some people don’t want to deal with the possibility of getting charged for it and at the same time we also want to help law enforcement ems decrease their response time.”

Opioid overdoses spiked in 2020 because of the pandemic and in St. Joseph County 83 people lost their lives.

Brittnie Nettrour’s brother was just one of those numbers.

"My 11-year-old brother got killed from a heroin driver. He was driving a semi without a license and he was under the influence of heroin,"  Nettrour, who was at the app testing, said.

It happened exactly one year ago on this date, and now there’s hope for help.

“I feel like my brother might still be alive if somebody is overdosing, you never know how important it is to Narcan them you don’t know how precious those few seconds are to save a life," she said.

The app was created by a group of former and current Ivy Tech students, faculty, and staff.

It also has a resource library that can help people locate the nearest recovery centers and coaches

Now, it t might not be known to everyone, but Narcan is publicly available over the counter in Indiana and Michigan.

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