Opioid addiction has ravaged many U.S. communities over the past decade. AFP / EVA HAMBACH
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Technology firms are taking aim at the opioid crisis and related health problems with a new class of treatments digital therapeutics delivered by smartphone. These new treatments, backed by medical research and offered by prescription, are seen as potential ways to supplement, and in some cases replace, pharmaceuticals to treat addiction and an array of other mental and physical health issues.Forty percent of patients who used the first Pear application, reSET, along with standard therapy abstained from alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and other substances over three months compared with 17.6 percent for those receiving standard therapy alone.For reSET-O, 82.4 percent of those using the app remained in therapy the so-called retention rate through 12 weeks, compared with 68.4 percent for those not using the app.Additionally, digital therapies can be delivered remotely in areas where medical care is scarce.An estimated 47,000 people died in the U.S. from opioid overdoses in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and 1.7 million people were suffering from addiction to painkillers like OxyContin.
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