Technology can be another tool in fighting opioid abuse

Video conferences is a promising effort in some areas.

Ian Bush
October 18, 2018 - 4:54 pm
Technology can be used as a tool to help fight opioid abuse.

ID 47557651 © Mark Adams |


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —  In the fight against opioid abuse, health providers are increasingly looking to technology to help prevent addiction and improve treatment. 

One promising effort involves house calls by video in rural areas, where overdose deaths are rising and it's harder to find a doctor.

"Doing video conferencing is just as effective as face-to-face. People are being retained in treatment and stopping drug use in the same rates as they would in-person," said Dr. Eric Weintraub with University of Maryland School of Medicine.  

In-person counseling sessions and drug screenings remain necessary, but he says it's designed to boost the success of those programs. 

RELATED: Governor Wolf Renews Opioid Disaster Declaration

That was a common theme during the Politico Live conversation on technology's role in combating opioid abuse: That innovations can help but are far from the only answer. 

"You have a massive population of people who are homeless or don't have access to smartphone technology who immediately from the get-go are not going to have access to that care," said Samantha Arsenault of patient advocacy group Shatterproof. 

There are low and no-tech innovations, too.

The Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb discussed the importance of mandatory continuing education for opioid-prescribing physicians, which he says could be completed online, as well as the drug manufacturers' rollout of shorter-duration blister packs for medications.