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An Immersive Virtual Reality Peer Support Application for Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder: Development and Initial Evaluation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41DA051294-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41DA051294
Amount: $206,673.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIDA
Solicitation Number: DA19-020
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-04-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-03-31
Small Business Information
900 19TH AVE S APT 301
Nashville, TN 37212-2125
United States
DUNS: 117138103
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (615) 322-3369
Business Contact
Phone: (202) 812-2204
Research Institution
110 21 ST. AVE. SOUTH
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death in the United States with approximately 72,000 people dying
from drug overdose in 2017. Many of these fatalities occurred in individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD),
which is one of the greatest public health issues confronting the United States today. Digital Recovery Support
Services (DRSs) that include peer support, psychoeducation, and other continuing care services, have the
potential to circumvent many of the limitations attendant with agonist medication treatment and traditional
psychosocial interventions for OUD. DRSs are highly accessible and provide continuous access to peer
support to influence recovery outcomes by helping individuals break ties to pro-substance-use peers and
establish ties to pro-recovery-peers. The goal of the proposed project is to explore the feasibility of a new
type of immersive Digital Recovery Support Service that delivers live, synchronous peer-based social
support in virtual reality (VR) for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder. This project will involve two
primary aims: (1) to develop a minimum viable product through initial acceptance and usability testing with 30
OUD patients receiving medication assisted treatment, and (2) to assess the impact of the intervention on
patient mood and perceived social support. This new type of VR application may help individuals at home
during moments of relapse risk, allowing them to “leave” (in their own minds) a potentially challenging or
triggering environment and instead become immersed in a recovery-focused social world. If effective, this
intervention could help to combat the opioid crisis and save the lives of thousands of Americans.PROJECT NARRATIVE
This project addresses the need for accessible and affordable behavioral interventions to address the opioid
crisis in the United States. We will explore the feasibility of a novel Digital Recovery Support Service that
delivers live, synchronous peer-based social support in immersive Virtual Reality (VR) for individuals with
Opioid Use Disorder. This VR intervention is intended to prevent relapse by providing immediate access to
immersive peer support during times of craving and could subsequently help to combat the opioid crisis to save
the lives of thousands of Americans.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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