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Nonprofit View: Technology, music among many ways to help treat addiction

In terms of hosting our usual music benefit concerts, 2019 wasn’t as action-packed a year as some of our previous years, not just in Carroll County, but across the state of Maryland.

Push H.O.P.E. Project still supports recovery-based musicians and their events, either hosted by other nonprofits or by the artist that is in recovery themselves, because music is an antidote to many things — and I would place being able to use music therapy to help with drug addiction, substance abuse or mental health as one of the most important.

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Still going strong into its fourth year, the Addiction & Recovery Awareness MusicFest was founded in Westminster by two local residents trying to inspire change and raise money for a local nonprofit that does a ton for those struggling with addictions and their families alike.

Recently, we’ve had the ability to observe, think, grow, change, network with others and take our foundation in other directions as well. Instead of simply just funding co-pays at treatment centers or two weeks’ rent at a recovery house for someone just getting out of treatment or incarceration, we wanted to go further. While our mission statement is still relevant, we’ve been able to go in different directions, and doors have opened for us in areas we feel we can make an impact and difference as well.

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Being a millennial and growing up submerged in technology — to a degree, because I feel like today’s generation is way more submerged than we were — I noticed there are tons of “solutions” out there, but not many include technology. But wait — using technology to help battle addition? I know that sounds far-fetched, especially for the ones who have been clean or sober for over 30 years. And, as we know, there is a lot that’s different today in 2020 than it was back in 1990.

Someone very close to me, whom I look up to, came to me with a health band product that he had already designed and created. He wanted my input and ideas on how we could incorporate this into helping treat and fight addiction, I felt honored and privileged to be asked.

The KnowME band has already won the Carroll Biz Challenge. It keeps a patients health records, medications prescribed, illnesses they may have, etc. I feel that by using this technology it could help first-responders in several ways. A couple of examples would be whether the person who overdosed is on any medications, especially one like Vivitrol, which blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and should help keep the patient from overdosing. A situation like this could be problematic and would be great to know up front as a first-responder. Another way the technology would work is through your breathing and heart rate. If these drop to extreme low levels the band would notify first-responders of a possible overdose.

Of course, whether the patient or client wants to use this or other technologies would be up to them. But know that they are available.

Jesse Tomlin is the founder/president of the Push H.O.P.E. Project. Reach him at pushhopeproject@gmail.com.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times publishes a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email cctnews@carrollcountytimes.com with the subject line “Nonprofit View.”

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