FDA will award you $40,000 to develop crowd-sourcing Naloxone app

The FDA is offering a skilled coder $40,000 to make a mobile app that could help people experiencing an opioid overdose find a potentially life-saving dose of Naloxone.

The agency is looking for developers who could create a cheap, crowd-sourced program people could consult if they need overdose help for themselves or a friend. It would help them find information about nearby clinics, hospitals or emergency first responders that have Naloxone in stock and ready to administer.

Naloxone is a drug that arrests the effects of an opioid overdose, which the FDA said could help save the lives of the more than two million people who used opioids in 2014. The agency said more than 60 percent of drug overdose deaths were a result of opioid use that year. Making the drug more readily accessible could help prevent some of those deaths in the future.

The idea for the app is based on an app that helps users find a CPR-certified person nearby who could help out in emergencies. A trial focused on the usefulness of that app found it “significantly” increased bystander-administered CPR and the FDA hopes a similarly positioned app could help with finding Naloxone.

The $40,000 first-place winner(s) will be the team with the most innovative, useful, functional and adaptable design, the FDA said. That means an app that can work in urban and rural communities, is easy to navigate, increases the ability to find Naloxone and uses the most creative technological design.  

The contest was announced Sept. 20 through the America COMPETES Act of 2010. Contestants can start submitting designs and ideas Sept. 23 and the submission period ends Nov. 7. The FDA said it will also hold a code-a-thon at its offices in Maryland Oct. 19 and 20 to encourage teams working on their submissions.