Big problem, big solution: Cincinnati to host first heroin hackathon

Big problem, big solution: Cincinnati to host first heroin hackathon
Posted at 6:27 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 18:28:30-04

CINCINNATI -- City officials hope to crack down on the local heroin epidemic by hosting the first-ever heroin hackathon this weekend.

The hackathon will bring together local problem-solvers who seek to tackle the opioid crisis using innovation, design, and technology, according to a news release.

Software developers and designers along with fire department volunteers, clinicians, recovering heroin users and their families are faced with the challenge of coming up with a possible solution to the epidemic.

The challenge falls under four different categories: prevention, response, response to recovery hand-off, and recovery. The victorious team will have a chance to win money or the opportunity to present their idea to Microsoft's Technology & Civic Innovation team.

RELATED: Tri-State med-tech firms work to be out in front for $20M Ohio anti-heroin investment

The event was initiated by City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and 17a, a public-sector strategy firm run by Annie Rittgers, in partnership with Cintrifuse and Spry Labs.

According to Sittenfeld, it will take more than just a few people to end the epidemic.

"My attitude towards the entire heroin crisis has been, 'This has to be an all hand on deck situation,'" Sittenfield said.

One of the core organizers of the event is Colleen Reynolds, director of community relations for Sittenfield.

"We can order a car with Uber and it shows up in ten minutes or you can text a pizza emoji and a pizza will arrive in 30," Reynolds said. "We find people are really struggling to know where to go when they're ready to say ‘I'm ready to get treatment.'"

There are about 80 hackers signed up but for those interested, they can register here.

The hackathon will begin at 10 a.m. in Union Hall and will continue through Sunday.