NEW BRITAIN - As the number of accidental drug overdose deaths and the use of the opioid fentanyl continues to increase, one local drug rehabilitation center in New Britain is taking the initiative to prevent relapses among the addicted.
The Farrell Treatment Center has joined forces with TryCycle Data - a tech startup company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, that has partnered with IBM Watson Health - to deliver a predictive monitoring system that detects patterns of risky or unhealthy behavior by clients in recovery.
“Today, there’s a gap in treatment,” Farrell Executive Director David Borzellino said. “What happens to the client when they leave a counseling session? Whether it’s intensive outpatient treatment, a group session, or individual counseling, their next session is a few days away. Some go to a 12-Step meeting, but many don’t. What do they do between sessions?”
According to figures provided by the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, 539 people in the state died of an accidental overdose from Jan. 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017. The number has been projected to increase to 1,078 by the end of the year - an 18 percent jump over 2016, when 917 people died.
Thirty-six New Britain residents died of drug overdoses in 2016. During the first six months of 2017, 25 died, according to data released by Chief State Medical Examiner James Gill and that number was expected to double by the end of the year.
In 2016, the city was ranked fourth in the state for the number of residents dying from a drug overdose.
TryCycle Data is focused on helping clinics and treatment providers address this problem though a Smartphone app.
Using a mobile device, the person in recovery will receive regular prompts to submit journal entries by answering a set of predefined assessment questions.
Their personal inputs are then processed using a patent-pending algorithm and submitted to the treatment center. The resulting data identifies the risk of relapse for each person in real time.
The results are presented in a dashboard providing continuous monitoring and allowing for human-based decision making
“When TryCycle was brought to my attention, it hit on a couple of different things,” Borzellino said. “It gave the client something to do in between sessions that allowed the counselor to remain engaged with their clients. It’s a way for them to check themselves out and keep the counselor involved.”
TryCycle co-founder and CEO John MacBeth said he sought out a partnership with Farrell Treatment Center because of its “one-size-does-not-fit-all” approach.
“We sought out David and his team because they are a trusted, dynamic and empathetic organization,” MacBeth said. “Given the level of care and commitment that manifests in Farrell’s approach and staff, how could we say no?”