WV Fights Back: Implementing technology into the opioid crisis

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Last week, we introduced you to many doctors moving to the Mountain State to help tackle the opioid crisis.

One of them is Dr. Ali Rezai, and one of his main missions is using technology to not only monitor addictions but also to find ways to prevent it.

"Our goal is to make West Virginia a leader in the country in terms of coming up with innovative solutions to tackle the opioid crisis," Dr. Rezai said. "Unfortunately there's a lot of opioid crisis and problems here in West Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky."

The idea is to take advantage of the improvements in technologies to study the way the brain works when it comes to addiction.

"We're using wearable sensor technology to be able to predict better when somebody's more prone to have addiction behavior," he said. "That will be linked towards feedback to the individual."

The way these technologies work, there are many different benefits. One is that it can communicate brain activity to those close to the patient in order to help determine an approach for treatment.

"That will be linked to the support system of the individual, whether it's their loved one, their spouse, children, parents, family network," Dr. Rezai said.

There's also a preventative step with this by means of using technology to predict the way the brain might function with opioids.

"Using some of the technology that we've developed, we think we can make advances in predicting, and predicting the addiction before," he said.

Advances like this -- some of the top not just in the region, but around the world. Dr. Rezai's research is renowned here in the United States so much so that WVU called upon him to help lead the charge.

"Our goal is to become the first in the country that has technology to predict addictions in a simple way and let the individuals in the support system know, number two is to use technology to treat addictions," Dr. Rezai said.