Photo by Mark Stone / University of Washington

Scientists have built an app that gives a smartphone the ability to detect an opioid overdose and alert others for help.

The app, called Second Chances, is still in development, but the researchers hope to have it approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and eventually sell the technology.

With over 110 Americans dying each day from opioid overdoses, the opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history.

“It’s a huge public health problem and also one where the diagnostic signs and mechanisms of how people die is really well-established,” says Jacob Sunshine, an anesthesiologist at the University of Washington and co-author of the Second Chances study, which was published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

In other words, when people overdose, their breathing changes in a specific and predictable pattern.

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