New Overdose Alarm Installed in Boston Area Public Bathrooms

overdose alarm can save lives in boston

Overdoses in public areas have been on the rise for years, thanks to the opioid crisis. As heroin and fentanyl use has continued to increase across the nation, more and more addicts are finding themselves becoming victims of the ultra-potent drugs that have infested nearly every community. One of the misconceptions about overdoses is that many people believe it’s something that happens in the privacy of one’s own home or car, but contrary to popular belief, a lot of overdoses happen in public areas, especially public bathrooms. Addicts can’t just shoot up in broad daylight without fear of being caught and arrested, so they seek private areas to do their drugs without risking jail time. As a result, many addicts seek refuge in public bathrooms and never come out. They overdose and die alone, solely because no one knew they were in there.

In response to the rapid increase of overdose deaths occurring in public bathrooms, a Boston area electrician invented a new type of alarm system that can alert people to the fact that someone may be unconscious inside. Called an “anti-motion detector,” the system monitors when a person enters a bathroom and sets a timer. The timer is only reset if the anti-motion detector picks up on the movements of the person in the bathroom. If a certain amount of time elapses without the system detecting motion, alarms are set off to notify others of a motionless person inside the bathroom stall. This way, EMS can be called and Narcan can be given, if necessary.

John King, the electrician who invented the system said, “Every other week someone will come up to me and say, ‘John you saved another person this week. It makes me feel good; I’m glad that I’m able to do this.”

More than 2,000 addicts died last year from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts, 266 in Boston alone. The fact is, the problem is continuing and even growing, so necessity is definitely proving to be the mother of invention. We’re going to have to remain creative in our fight against the scourge of drugs. The worse things get, the cleverer we’re going to have to be in order to counteract what’s going on within our society. Anti-motion alarms are just the newest iteration of solutions to combat the opioid crisis. While the system isn’t quite foolproof yet and still in its development stages, the first prototypes have proven to work and help to save lives. I think it’s a great invention that has the potential to prevent fatal overdoses, for sure, but we still need to keep working toward solutions that will actually make a dent in the drug crisis and actually get us closer to resolving it once and for all.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.