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The Wright Center for Community Health Offers ‘OARS’ App to Help Individuals with Substance Use Disorder


Scranton, Pa. (July 30, 2021) – The Wright Center for Community Health announces it has introduced a new software tool intended to help individuals who are coping with substance use disorder to better maintain their treatment plans and avoid relapse.

The Opioid Addiction Recovery Support app, known as OARS, can be installed on a patient’s smartphone.

Patients use the app to securely message their healthcare team, chart daily progress and receive support from professionals and/or peers. The Wright Center’s healthcare providers, meanwhile, are able to view the patient’s real-time reporting and feedback, then use that information to quickly address any emerging challenges and make treatment decisions to promote a more successful recovery journey.

The app was developed by Q2i, a Boston-area digital health company, in partnership with UCLA. Their work is aimed at mitigating the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis, which reached a historic new level in 2020 – reportedly the deadliest year ever in the U.S. for drug overdoses.  

Federal estimates released this month show a nearly 30% rise in fatal overdoses over the prior year, an increase that health officials attributed partly to the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OARS can improve the success of medication-assisted treatment programs. The Wright Center’s primary care practices offer medication-assisted treatment – a whole-person approach to addiction that combines counseling and behavioral therapies with the use of approved medications such as buprenorphine.

“Tools like OARS, which extend our behavioral health team’s ability to connect with and support individuals in recovery, are especially useful and potentially can improve outcomes,” said Scott Constantini, The Wright Center’s Director of Behavioral Health. “We’re proud to be on the forefront of studying and introducing these kinds of technologies.”

In response to community needs, The Wright Center became an early proponent and provider of medication-assisted treatment and related services across a multicounty area in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2016, the state Department of Human Services designated The Wright Center as an Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence. Today the organization serves about 540 active Center of Excellence patients.

The Wright Center also co-founded the Healthy MOMS program, which assists pregnant and postpartum women who are coping with substance use disorder. The program currently has 121 active mothers.

The OARS app will be offered to The Wright Center’s Center of Excellence patients and the women enrolled in the region’s Healthy MOMS program. About two dozen patients have already adopted use of the app.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) had granted approval earlier this year for the OARS software to proceed to a Phase II clinical trial. The Wright Center, which operates primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties, served as a study site during Phase I and is also a study site for Phase II. For more information about The Wright Center’s healthcare services, visit thewrightcenter.org.

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