Canadian Optimism –
June 12, 2020 – On its site, Lifegaurd Digital Health states that it, “has documented at least a dozen lives saved thus far.”
And while the app may save some lives, experts caution that it won’t be enough.
Downtown Eastside advocate Ann Livingston tells Vancouver Is Awesome that she thinks any tool that will help save lives is great, but that it isn’t the answer. Instead, she says that people with substance abuse issues need access to a clean supply of drugs. If they did, she says there wouldn’t be the staggering number of overdose deaths each year or a need for apps. She points to alcohol, because it always comes from a safe source: “When you have a drink, you don’t need an app.”
Livingston says the stigma around addiction and drug use prevents people from getting help. With this in mind, she states that the app may be useful for people who have access to cell phones. This might include a teenager who’s hiding their drug use, or an adult who hides it from their family.
For those most vulnerable, however, Livingston says the app won’t be very helpful. She also points out that there are other apps that allow users to connect to a network of peers rather than directly alerting emergency services. Since the app requires users to enter their name, phone number and address, they may uncomfortable releasing that information in relation to their drug use.