Lack of access to basic life-saving emergency care is a major contributor to premature death and disability from preventable conditions where time is a critical determinant of patient outcomes. Historically, emergency medical services (EMS), supported by robust landline-based telecommunications systems and accessed through toll-free numbers, like 9-1-1, are relied upon to provide both urban and rural populations with expedited access to critical health services for a range of emergency medical conditions.
Overdoses from heroin and opioid painkillers are a primary example of when early access to basic life-saving interventions can save lives. Through delivery of the “overdose antidote” Naloxone, an easy-to-administer medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose and saves lives, trained first responders are able to safely reverse the fatal effects of heroin and opioid painkiller overdoses.
It is not uncommon that witnesses to opioid overdoses will have a greater reluctance to report overdoses to official 9-1-1 emergency dispatch services for fear of legal repercussions. As a result, opioid overdoses have substantially higher mortality rates for what would otherwise be considered preventable deaths. Evidence shows that by increasing the availability of Naloxone among the public, and coordinating their response efforts through improved mobile communications systems, bystanders equipped with Naloxone can reduce the time interval between the onset of a life-threatening opioid overdose and the delivery of life-saving care to the patient, thus averting thousands of overdose-related fatalities each year. Recently, the United States federal government, through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) sponsored a hack-a-thon competition “to spur innovation around the development of a low-cost, scalable, crowd-sourced mobile phone application that helps increase the likelihood that opioid users, their immediate personal networks, and first responders are able to identify and react to an overdose by administering naloxone.”
Quixote, Inc. has developed a text message-based emergency medical dispatch platform that leverages the ubiquitous use of mobile phones to create decentralized 9-1-1 dispatching systems anywhere there’s a mobile phone signal. The Quixote Dispatch platform enables mobile phone users to place requests for emergency assistance to private dispatchers, which are then relayed to a trained cadre of layperson first responders equipped with Naloxone who are able to locate and deliver the life-saving medication. We have seen that the minimal human, physical and financial resources associated with a mobile phone-based emergency medical dispatch system can make the implementation of community-based emergency response networks possible wherever mobile phones are used, providing a sustainable and cost-effective model for under-served patient demographic groups who are unable or unwilling to access formal 9-1-1 services.
If you are interested in implementing the Quixote Dispatch platform to support a community-based emergency response network that will prevent fatal opioid overdoses, please send your inquiry.
We do. Calling 9-1-1 is always the best way to ensure that a victim receives the highest level of medical attention. There are also several reasons why relying solely on 9-1-1 and formal first responders is not going to save the most lives:
By calling a community crisis line dedicated to overdose prevention where witnesses can anonymously call and report an opioid overdose
There are certain definite advantages to requesting assistance through a mobile app, but not enough that you would want to replace traditional dispatchers and call centers.
Purported Advantages vs. Actual Disadvantages of App-based Alerting
A range of strategies and tactics can be employed to ensure that sufficient responders will always be available if needed, many of which can be taken from the volunteer fire departments that cover nearly 1/3 of the U.S. population, including:
Ideally, Naloxone would be administered under the supervision of a trained medical professional, but that’s not always possible – nor is it necessarily required
 Rudolph SS, Jehu G, Nielsen SL, Nielsen K, Siersma V, Rasmussen LS. Prehospital treatment of opioid overdose in Copenhagen: Is it safe to discharge on-scene? Resuscitation. 2011;82(11):1414–8.
 Wampler DA, Molina DK, McManus J, Laws P, Manifold CA. No Deaths Associated with Patient Refusal of Transport After Naloxone-Reversed Opioid Overdose. Prehosp Emerg Care. 2011;15(3):320–4.
There’s no way to guarantee total safety for responders – whether for formal responders, like police and paramedics, or for community bystanders – but we believe that a number of factors can help to significantly increase safety:
From our experience as EMS professionals responding to countless overdoses over many years, we have good reason to believe that bystanders may be more likely to mitigate the risks to safety commonly encountered at the scene of an overdose. Overdose victims who have recently been revived through Naloxone administration can be confused and irritable leading to exacerbated behaviors in the presence of law enforcement.
The Program Officer will be tasked with launching new community-based overdose response networks wherever possible. Through this position, thousands of lives will be saved and many more opportunities will be created to continue advancing Quixote’s impact. The Program Officer will be expected to be a quick study of our mission, vision and values; take the initiative; work independently; and show quick results based on the added value they bring by joining our startup venture.
Please send your updated resume with a 1-page cover letter describing why you want to work for Quixote, including a concise summary of what you would do in the first two months if offered the job and any salary demands. Submissions not meeting these criteria will not be considered or replied to.