December 19, 2019: Phone App Aims to Prevent Teen Opioid Misuse, Addiction
Updated: Jul 11
App users who complete lessons and quizzes can earn points toward rewards.
By: Tim Studebaker
BRISTOL, R.I. (WLNE) – A new app called “FEND” (Full Energy, No Drugs) is being introduced statewide in Rhode Island by the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals. The goal of the app is to prevent opioid addiction in teens.
Sean Palumbo is a senior at Mount Hope High School. He’s on the youth advisory board, helping the state work with the app’s developer to make sure it’s appealing to the target age group: 15 to 18 years old.
Palumbo says, “How can we get to teens, because it’s one of the hardest challenges that we’re facing in prevention, really.”
The goal is to address the dangers of opioid misuse and prevent addiction by connecting with that younger generation through something they use every day: their phones.
Palumbo says, “How these can affect you in a negative way. Why people use them in the way that they do. And like I said, how can they help with this.”
The app has a series of quizzes and lessons. App users who complete them can collect points that they can use to earn rewards like movie vouchers, concert tickets, and gift cards.
The app is also geared toward parents, helping them make informed decisions about their child’s healthcare, like discussing non-opioid alternatives with their child’s doctor.
Palumbo says, “We’re going to be able to prevent this in the future if we can get parents on board with this and teach them about the dangers as well.”
Rhode Island is the first state to launch the “FEND” campaign statewide. It’s available now for iPhone and Android devices. Just search “FEND.”
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019