A cutting-edge new project from Innovation Design Engineer Morten Groenning Nielsen aims to provide a possible life-saving solution to many addicts who use or inject without the company of others.
Generally, Naloxone is distributed as either an intramuscular injection or intranasal spray. More recently, the FDA approved an epi-pen-style Naloxone auto-injector known as Evzio; however, this design still requires the presence of another person to administer it.
After a trip to a Copenhagen to visit a recently opened safe injection site to interview staff regarding the methods used to keep intravenous drug users safe from disease and overdose, Nielsen became increasingly interested in finding a new and unique way to help ensure the safety of IDUs.
"Later, back in London, I continued my research by interviewing a number of heroin users and listened to their stories. Meeting these individuals fueled my motivation to try and use design to lower the numbers of heroin related deaths in Denmark, UK and countries alike," he said.
Nielsen has been able to demonstrate proof of concept, making a functional injection mechanism that effectively penetrates the skin with a needle, injects the drug intramuscularly and retracts backwards into its casing after detecting an overdose through measuring reflective pulse oximetry.
A pulse oximeter is a mobile and noninvasive instrument that can be used to effectively measure the oxygen saturation levels in someone’s blood.
"An oximeter has a pair of small light-emitting diodes (LEDs) shining through a translucent part of the patient’s body, usually a fingertip. One LED is red, and the other is infrared. Absorption of these wavelengths differs significantly between oxygenated blood and deoxygenated blood. The photodiode on the opposite side of the LEDs measures how much red and infrared light has been transmitted to calculate the oxygen saturation. In some pulse oximeters, the LEDs and the measuring photodiode are on the same side and a reflective technology is used to bounce the light waves back to the same side of het he device. Baruta use blood circulates in momentary pulses, accurate measurements of oxygen levels adjust to the pulse rate, which is why pulse readings are also taken and displayed by a pulse oximeter."
Reflective pulse oximetry is the technology that makes it possible for this device to detect an overdose in Nielsen's design.
Nielsen said he eventually hopes to see his innovative design incorporated into harm reduction initiatives, and distributed amongst at risk intravenous drug users in order to further help reduce the incidence of and loss of life associated with opiate overdose.
For more information:
Here’s a flow chart on the functionality of the device: http://groenning.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Invio-Morten_gronning.005.jpg
K. Lanktree is a NewsOK contributor, Freelance Writer, Former IV Drug User, Methadone Patient and Harm Reduction Advocate. For more information, check out her blog.
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