Students From NEC Members Hack to Address Addiction

Students from several New England Council members recently participated in an elite invitation-only “Hackathon” to combat drug addiction. The students, from schools including Tufts University, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of New Hampshire, and Northern Essex Community College, developed smartphone apps with a variety of different functions to help individuals struggling with drug addiction.

Divided into seven teams of three or four people, the students had less than two days to develop an app that helped those with drug addiction in some way. One team, for example, developed an app that likened sobriety to a garden – for each day a person stays sober, they get a flower added to their virtual garden. Another team created an app that included a panic button that users can press if they are struggling to remain sober or if they are overdosing to notify a pre-selected friend or family member.

“If you’re a supporter, you’re encouraging chatting with someone who needs your support,” said Ben Papp, a student at Tufts University in Massachusetts who was on the team that developed the panic button. His team’s app also had videos within it about how to properly administer Narcan, an antidote that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Organizers of the hackathon said they hoped that some of the apps developed at the event might end up in an app store, available for download and use by those who need them. The New England Council congratulates and applauds the members involved, whose students are putting their skills and education to good use to help others.

Read more in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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