ONEbox™ and the Drug Intervention Institute partner to combat the opioid crisis and save lives.
According to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 109,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. in the 12-month period ending March 2022. Overdose deaths reached record levels during the pandemic. However, the landscape of the epidemic has changed. While some states are seeing a backslide in overdose death numbers, the opioid epidemic has been exacerbated with the proliferation of fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid that is responsible for a growing number of overdose deaths. Once found in opioids, fentanyl is now present in other recreational drugs like cocaine and counterfeit medications.
The Impact of Fentanyl
Counterfeit drug trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Some estimate the value of the global counterfeit market between $200 and $432 billion. China—in particular, Hong Kong—is the largest producer and distributor of these drugs. China is the No. 1 supplier of fentanyl to the U.S. and the main supplier to Canada and Mexico. Cartels from Mexico then smuggle fentanyl into the United States, often mixing it with other illicit drugs.
The changed nature of America’s opioid epidemic makes innovative and immediate response and prevention essential. A critical tool in the fight against overdose deaths is the ONEbox™, a life-saving device that provides real-time, multilingual video instructions on how to administer naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdose.
Find the Purple Box
The ONEbox™ was created by native West Virginian, entrepreneur, and inventor Joe Murphy to increase access to naloxone and to train people how to use this life-saving medication in response to an opioid overdose emergency. It is an on-demand, one-of-a-kind, technology-enabled opioid overdose rescue response kit that includes two doses of naloxone.
The box contains instantaneous video instructions in both English and Spanish that are activated when ONEbox™ is opened. Using a bystander intervention model, the video talks the responder through the administration of naloxone. A training mode is also available for use during a nonemergency. The box is purple to promote anti-stigma. Murphy encourages everyone to “find the purple box” in their location in the event of an opioid overdose emergency.
Partnering to Save Lives
To help distribute and deploy the ONEbox™ throughout West Virginia and the U.S., Murphy partnered with the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute (WVDII), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing overdose deaths and substance use in West Virginia and across the country. The partnership between the ONEbox™ and WVDII has been crucial in expanding access to the device and training individuals on how to respond to opioid overdose emergencies.
“The partnership between the ONEbox™ and the WVDII has been a vital part of work to combat the opioid epidemic,” explains WVDII President Dr. Susan Bissett. “To date, we have distributed the ONEbox™ in 30 states in a wide range of locations, including schools, universities, bars and restaurants, state parks, treatment centers, health departments, and sporting venues.”
Bissett has been instrumental in the partnership with the ONEbox™. With over 25 years’ experience in higher education and a background in public health, she has worked tirelessly to address the opioid epidemic and find innovative solutions to the drug crisis. She and Murphy first started working together in 2017 when they created a medication safety program for children, “Don’t Keep Rx Around.” They recognized early on the importance of partnerships with other organizations and agencies to promote evidence-based public health solutions to a complex epidemic.
West Virginia Partnership and Deployment
Specifically, the WVDII has partnered with the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy and the Prevention First Network to place the ONEbox™ in public spaces throughout the state including churches, missions, soup kitchens, and other locations. Most recently, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources placed boxes in state park lodges. Through a partnership with the WV Collegiate Recovery Network, the overdose reversal kit has also been deployed on all 29 public and private campuses in West Virginia. The boxes have been placed in residence halls and other campus buildings to provide students and faculty with access to naloxone and training on how to respond to opioid overdose emergencies.
Partnerships have expanded beyond West Virginia. The ONEbox™ has now been deployed nationwide.
In January 2023, Gibson Gives—the philanthropic arm of Gibson Brands, Inc., a leading manufacturer of guitars, other musical instruments, and professional audio equipment—began working with the Nashville Metro Police Department to place the ONEbox™ in live music venues in downtown Nashville, providing access to naloxone in an environment where opioid overdose emergencies may occur. Placement locations were identified by overdose heat maps provided by the Nashville Metro Police and the Centers for Disease Control.
Additionally, OVP Health, a health care organization with treatment facilities in five states, has also placed the ONEbox™ in all of its facilities, further expanding access to the life-saving device. Coplin Health and Prestera in West Virginia have placed the boxes in their health clinics and treatment locations. The ONEbox™ has been deployed to public libraries in West Virginia and Rhode Island as well as in addiction treatment centers and health departments throughout the country. Universities, including the University of Georgia and North Dakota State University, have installed the boxes on their campus and, in some cases, at bars and restaurants that college students frequent.
“The demand for the box continues to grow as organizations throughout the country recognize the need for naloxone to be in immediate proximity and for all persons to be trained on how to respond to an overdose emergency,” explains Bissett. “Overdose can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.”