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OUS student part of team entering Opioid Technology Challenge

ATHENS  — In 2016, nearly 3,500 Ohio residents lost their lives to unintentional opioid overdoses. Many of these individuals left behind family members and friends desperate to find a solution to end the opiate crisis.

Ohio University Southern student, Marlee Gilmore, is one of many in the state who has lost a loved one to this epidemic, and she is determined to help find a solution.

On Dec. 4, Gilmore was invited to join a team of Ohio University students to participate in the Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge, which was sponsored by the Ohio Development Services Agency.

The College of Health Sciences and Professions had the students brainstorm ideas for submission. The OHIO Over Opioids Ideathon met at the Grover Center in Athens. The team submitted an idea to create a “match-making” phone application for opioid users to contact supporters in their local communities.

Gilmore felt the event was incredibly positive.

“Instead of looking at numbers, it’s nice to look at people,” said Gilmore, and she urges others to remember that, “the reason we are trying to heal our community is because people are hurting — they are our community.”

The Opioid Technology Challenge will soon be moving onto the second of three phases. Phase one was idea generation. Phase two will focus on creating technological solutions and phase three includes developing a product for market entry.

Gilmore said she learned a lot during the kickoff event.

“I was so grateful for the opportunity to listen and learn, and to help our area get well,” she said.

Gilmore will graduate this spring with a bachelor of social work, an associate of arts and a minor of communication studies. She plans to open a rehabilitation center in the area after graduation.

The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge will leverage $8 million of a $20 million commitment to advance new ideas in the battle against drug abuse and addiction. The Challenge is a multi-phase, multi-million-dollar prize competition with escalating prize amounts associated with progressive levels of solution development.