Social networking software will enable those recovering from substance addiction to interact with a network of mentors and peers in real-time, safely and privately.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – June 23, 2010 – A social networking tool developed jointly by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Syberenety LLC may soon be available to help recovering addicts stay connected to support and accountability. Through an interactive, online social support network environment, coupled with applications on a handheld device, users will stay connected in real-time with professional and personal mentors, to give those battling addiction the best chance at avoiding and coping with potential relapse. Technology underlying the social network tool was recently optioned to Syberenety LLC, a Colorado-based company seeking to help those recovering from addiction find support in a secure online network.
It is well documented that patients struggling to overcome a dependency or addiction benefit from consistent and frequent interaction with their medical professional, assigned mentor, and approved peers and family members. However, constant interaction with these groups is typically not practical or realistic, particularly during a crisis which could involve or lead to a relapse. A social networking tool developed by Rory Lewis and Terry Boult of the UCCS computer science department is the crucial element of the Syberenety system, which creates a dynamic social network in which patients recovering from substance abuse can interact privately and safely with peer and professional mentors. This social networking aspect is combined with smartphone applications which monitor and test specific aspects of the physiological and geographical state of the end user.
The technology employs biometrics, GPS, and other elements to gather relevant data about the user. This data may be interpreted by a designated person in the user's support network to determine whether the user is intoxicated (causing a recovery relapse), or in a location which may be bad for recovery (for instance, near a bar or liquor store); the technology also employs safeguards to ensure that the intended user is actually the person using the app. Depending on how the data is qualified, key persons in the user’s support network determine how to interact with the patient.
The architecture of the system has been engineered to protect patient privacy in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) while enabling designated mentors to receive information at these critical moments. Additionally, the smartphone app monitors the sobriety levels (and number of days sober since relapse) of all participants in the network through tests of balance and reaction time. This is key to preventing a known problem in peer-to-peer addiction recovery mentoring, in which a recovering addict experiencing a relapse crisis seeks support, but triggers a relapse in their peer mentor. Monitoring of sobriety and length of time since last relapse allows the networking tool to avoid enabling of this ‘feedback loop’ of relapse.
“The systems of Syberenety will give organizations additional tools to provide enhanced recovery support to individuals battling dependencies,” said Steve Bassett, Chief Executive Manager of Syberenety. “The disease of alcohol and drug addiction costs society over 200 billion dollars annually – even the smallest offset to that cost is of very high monetary and cultural value. We are pleased to be bringing University of Colorado technologies to bear on this critical national problem.” Syberenety hopes to launch the tool in spring 2011.
About Syberenety LLC
Syberenety is a Colorado company formed by a team of entrepreneurs and specialists from the computer technology and substance rehabilitation industries. Syberenety’s mission is to engage the process of innovation to create products and services that “change the game” in the addiction rehabilitation and recovery industry by improving treatment, restoring lives and lessening the burden on society.
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