Art and science have converged to offer an innovative way to ease access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone.
Professors at the neighboring Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School have teamed up to design wall-mounted kits that hold doses of the lifesaving medication. With funding support from the Rhode Island Department of Health and an overdose prevention program at Miriam Hospital in Providence, 48 “NaloxBoxes” have been made available for installation at facilities and organizations that serve at-risk individuals.
The boxes contain four injectable doses of naloxone and instructions for administering the drug, and are equipped with electronics that automatically send a text message to their host so that the emergency use can be documented and the drug can be refilled when necessary.
The door to the devices opens with a Velcro latch, meaning that the person seeking to administer the naloxone to someone in an emergency does not have to break glass or have access to a code.
“This is really linking health and design together,” RISD professor Claudia Rébola said in an article published by Brown's news service. “We have learned a lot through the process.”
The homeless and recovery services organization Amos House has installed several of the devices in order to make the drug readily available to staff and clients. “It's crucial that we educate people and make it available,” Amos House director Eileen Hayes said. “We're a recovery program, and we're working with men and women who are really working hard to be in recovery, and yet that doesn't mean that relapse doesn't happen.”