Nov. 28, 2021 – “Discreetness and comfort are high priorities for these sorts of devices. Traditionally, naloxone is administered either nasally or through intramuscular injection. So, having something the size of a smart watch that sticks to the abdomen, like a bandage you can take on and off, is the form factor we decided upon. It seems to be acceptable and discreet to people who inject opioids,” Chan said.

In order to establish proof-of-concept, researchers carried out experiments under different settings. They first needed to establish the device’s ability to accurately track respiration rates in opioid users. This was carried out at the InSite Supervised Injection Facility (SIF) in Vancouver. Informed consent was gathered from opioid users at the facility before being fitted with two devices. The first was an existing respiration belt which acted as a reference standard, the second was the sensor developed for the naloxone wearable. Participants were asked to breathe normally for two minutes prior to injection to provide a baseline. Respiration was then observed for five minutes post-injection, as the first five minutes are the time period with the highest risk. Of the two participants, two experienced apneic events without an overdose, and researchers confirmed the sensor correctly detected those events.


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