A call by Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich for scientific breakthroughs to help solve the opioid crisis is drawing interest from dozens of groups, with ideas including remote-controlled medication dispensers, monitoring devices for addicts, mobile apps, and pain-relieving massage gloves. The state has received project ideas from 44 hospitals, universities, and various medical device, software, and pharmaceutical developers that plan to apply for up to $12 million in competitive research-and-development grants, the AP reports. Ohio leads the nation in opioid-related overdose deaths, counting 1,155 deaths by fentanyl alone in 2015, the latest year figures were available. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission is handling the grant program and expects full proposals by an Aug. 31 deadline.
Kasich put out a call for Ohio to invest more in solving the problem in his April State of the State address. Proposed ideas for tackling the crisis are aimed at before or after an overdose. Tactus Therapeutics Inc., for example, seeks $2.2 million to develop an improved tamper-resistant opioid (a drug that is more difficult to crush, snort, or inject), while other applicants seek money to pursue technological advances in the administration of naloxone, a drug used as an overdose antidote. One is a “rescue mask.” Other grant-seekers propose migrating away from pills altogether to new ways of fighting pain. A host of applicants propose ways of using smart technology to prevent overdose deaths by approaching the problem through the patient, doctor, or community. See the AP for a rundown of other proposals.