A scoping review of mHealth technologies for opioid overdose prevention, detection and response

Basak Tas*, Will Lawn, Elena V. Traykova, Rebecca A.S. Evans, Barbara Murvai, Hollie Walker, John Strang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Issues: Opioid overdose kills over 100,000 people each year globally. Mobile health (mHealth) technologies and devices, including wearables, with the capacity to prevent, detect or respond to opioid overdose exist in early form, or could be re-purposed or designed. These technologies may particularly help those who use alone. For technologies to be successful, they must be effective and acceptable to the at-risk population. The aim of this scoping review is to identify published studies on mHealth technologies that attempt to prevent, detect or respond to opioid overdose. Approach: A systematic scoping review of literature was conducted up to October 2022. APA PsychInfo, Embase, Web of Science and Medline databases were searched. Inclusion criteria: articles had to report on (i) mHealth technologies that deal with (ii) opioid (iii) overdose. Key Findings: A total of 348 records were identified, with 14 studies eligible for this review across four domains: (i) technologies that require intervention/response from others (four); (ii) devices that use biometric data to detect overdose (five); (iii) devices that automatically respond to an overdose with administration of an antidote (three); (iv) acceptability/willingness to use overdose-related technologies/devices (five). Implications: There are multiple routes in which these technologies may be deployed, but several factors impact acceptability (e.g., discretion or size) and accuracy of detection (e.g., sensitive parameter/threshold with low false positive rate). Conclusion: mHealth technologies for opioid overdose may play a crucial role in responding to the ongoing global opioid crises. This scoping review identifies vital research that will determine the future success of these technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-764
Number of pages17
JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
Issue number4
Early online date18 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • drug-related deaths
  • mHealth
  • opioid overdose
  • opioids
  • wearable technology


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