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DOVE: A Wearable Device to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

Project Team

Alexis Roth, PhD, MPH, MPH Associate Professor, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University

Stephen Lankenau, PhD, Professor, Dornsife School of Public Health, Assoc. Dean of Research, Drexel University

Jacob Brenner, MD, PhD, Asst. Prof, Critical Care Div, Pharmacology Dept, University Pennsylvania

Jim Weimer, PhD, Research Asst. Prof, Computer & Information Systems, University of Pennsylvania

Ben Cocchiaro, MD, MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

Core Student Team

Julia Gasior, BS, University of Pennsylvania

Katie Kanter, BA, University of Pennsylvania

David Gordon, BA, EDAC, Ballinger


Opioid overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with rates now exceeding those of fatal car crashes and gunshots. During an overdose, respiratory drive can become terminally depressed within a matter of minutes if individuals do not receive life-saving measures, including naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote. Because most overdoses occur when individuals use alone, there is an urgent need for novel solutions that passively monitor respiratory drive and trigger automated responses to reverse an overdose when detected. Unlike previous methods of naloxone delivery, which require a bystander to administer, our proposed solution to this unmet clinical need is a wearable device capable of sensing and responding to an overdose without bystander intervention. Target customers for the device are an estimated 2 million people with opioid use disorder (OUD) and several million more prescription opioid patients. Initially, the device would be marketed towards the over 1800 providers of medication for OUD, e.g. methadone, including many large regional chains in the U.S. with significant market share. This wearable device will lead to reduced opioid overdose deaths, reduced healthcare costs associated with caring for overdose comorbidities, and protect patients with OUD at high risk of relapse.