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Addiction Research Embracing Mobile Technology

addiction research appsThe National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently announced a program to award $100,000 to developers of mobile applications (apps) that can help aid in treatment and recovery research. The project is called “Addiction Research: There’s an App for that.”

While it is a relatively small reward compared to other research funding, it is a step in the direction of capitalizing on the trend of everything going mobile. The idea is that since an ever-increasing number of people have smartphones, they can use these devices to harvest data for research for addiction treatments, prevention and recovery programs.

One of the requirements is that the app has to work within Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit framework. This open-source software would allow for other developers to step in and work with applications to further enhance them. Entries must include a white paper describing the app and its proposed scientific research uses and capabilities as well as provide a demo video of a prototype and its functionality. The submission deadline is the April 29th, 2016.

While there are a growing number of apps available for the treatment and recovery communities, this appears to be the first government-sponsored development in connection with addiction research. One of the more promising aspects of this is that it will help in getting people to more willingly participate in data-gathering surveys to track behaviors, attitudes and give other feedback. Rather than getting a small sampling, it is possible to get a much larger percentage of the population to participate in such forms of research. With the vast number of genius developers out there, the possibilities are endless.