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App in the works to help Greensboro area fight opioid overdoses

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Greensboro Area Health Education Center, known as AHEC, is working on a new cellphone app to help fight the opioid overdose crisis.

In 2015, 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose in the United States, the most ever in history. Guilford County is not immune to the problem.

"Just in Guilford County for instance you have about 80 pills that are being prescribed, opiates, for each person who lives in Guilford County. Think of that," said Beckie Knight, executive director of AHEC.

About a year ago, AHEC decided it would focus on the opioid epidemic and try to bring together all the local coalitions in the Guilford County region.

"We have gotten in touch with lots of people in the communities on the ground level doing this work who are building coalitions and our job we feel is to help pull them together so we can maximize the resources," Knight explained.

Now Knight and her team are working on creating an app -- a one stop shop for fighting and surviving the opioid crisis.

"Not everybody knows that their next-door neighbor is going to overdose. Or their friend at a party is going to overdose. So we would like for it to be broadly used by anybody and everybody in our communities," she said.

The app will have information and resources for everyone from current and recovering users to health providers, family members and emergency personnel.

"If we can deliver an app to them that they can download then we are going to be giving them a lot of information: telephone numbers to call, where to look for help," she said.

The app is still in the early stages of development. It will have important statistical information for outreach groups and map out locations for medicine drop-offs and clean-syringe exchanges.

The app will also have practical information for family and friends of users, including step-by-step instructions for administering naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

The team will unveil the app at the end of May, it will then go into a testing phase. They hope to roll it out for everyone to download in the fall.