Enlisting Recovering Addicts as Tech Designers to Fight Relapse

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Over 300,000 Americans have died from drug overdose in the last two decades, and that many will die from drug overdose over the next five years.  Due to this dramatic increase in overdose deaths, the need for effective treatment is great.  However, substance use disorders (SUDs), such as alcoholism and drug abuse, have been historically difficult to treat given their chronic cycles of treatment and relapse.  As many as 75% of the individuals who complete professional treatment will relapse within one year.  To improve treatment outcomes, new and supplemental approaches are needed. In our recent study, we explored if and how technology (e.g., smartphone apps) might supplement traditional treatment options and serve as an additional source of support for individuals in early recovery from SUDs.