SEP 14, 2020 2:11 PM PDT

Can Virtual Reality Address The Opioid Epidemic?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

The current COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed another public health challenge in the United States—and that is the opioid overdose. The last 20 years have witnessed a 200% increase in deaths due to opioid overdose. There has been the development of drugs that counteract the effects of an opioid overdoes—one being Naloxone.

Learn more about the opioid epidemic:

Naloxone is unique because it holds a standing order policy in more than 40 US states. This means that anyone can purchase the drug and potentially save a life without a need for a prescription. As such, citizens of the public can hold and store naloxone in case they encounter someone with an opioid overdose. However, how does one know if an individual has had an opioid overdose? And how can it be administered? These questions come in the time of social distancing which raises more challenges.

"Overdoses aren't happening in hospitals and doctor's offices," says Nicholas Giordano, former Lecturer at Penn's School of Nursing. "They're happening in our communities: in parks, libraries, and even in our own homes. It's crucial that we get the ability to save lives into the hands of the people on the front lines in close proximity to individuals at risk of overdose."

Learn more about social distancing (the new normal):

To address the questions, researchers developed a virtual reality (VR) immersive video training aimed at helping save lives in the new normal. The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Prevention and discusses how VR is just as effective as an in-person training in educating the public on administering naloxone and saving lives.

"We were really pleased to discover that our VR training works just as well as in-person training," says Natalie Herbert, a 2020 graduate of Penn's Annenberg School for Communication. "We weren't looking to replace the training public health organizations are already offering; rather, we were hoping to offer an alternative for folks who can't get to in-person training, but still want the knowledge. And we're excited to be able to do that."

Learn more by visiting: https://www.virtualinnovation.org

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUN 01, 2020
Technology
A Robotic Chef
JUN 01, 2020
A Robotic Chef
Imagine having your own personal chef robot? A robot capable of cooking has long been discussed in fiction and movies. T ...
JUL 15, 2020
Technology
Creating Robotic Senses
JUL 15, 2020
Creating Robotic Senses
Placing your dinner plates in the sink or grabbing a bottle of water maybe the simplest thing you do this week but for r ...
JUL 22, 2020
Technology
Software Capabilities for Self-Driving Cars
JUL 22, 2020
Software Capabilities for Self-Driving Cars
Self-driving (autonomous) cars have already hit the road. The software capability of these cars, especially those that r ...
AUG 03, 2020
Technology
'Drawn-On" Skin Electronics
AUG 03, 2020
'Drawn-On" Skin Electronics
Engineers at the University of Houston developed a new form of "drawn-on-skin electronics” --a breakthro ...
AUG 25, 2020
Technology
Real-Time Robots
AUG 25, 2020
Real-Time Robots
Robots that can detect real-time change? U.S. Army scientists demonstrate the world’s first human-robot team that ...
SEP 27, 2020
Neuroscience
Computer Reads Peoples' Minds to Generate Images
SEP 27, 2020
Computer Reads Peoples' Minds to Generate Images
Researchers from the University of Helsinki in Finland have found a way to generate images on computers by monitoring br ...
Loading Comments...