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Overdose prevention app now available province-wide

Press Release

Alberta’s government is expanding overdose prevention services to reach those most at risk of a fatal overdose, people who are using at home alone. On average, 70 per cent of opioid-related fatalities in Alberta take place in a private residence, often while alone. That’s why Alberta’s government created DORS: to save lives.

DORS is a confidential, anonymous and professional program that prevents death by dispatching emergency medical services if a user becomes unresponsive. Individuals using the app will receive a call from the STARS emergency centre if they fail to respond to a timer. If an overdose is suspected, STARS will immediately dispatch an ambulance to the person’s location.

“More than 70 per cent of opioid-related fatalities happen at home. The Digital Overdose Response System will help prevent fatalities for people who are using opioids at home. If you are in Alberta, use the DORS app when using opioids and other substances, especially when using alone.”

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“STARS is pleased to participate in the ongoing expansion of the Digital Overdose Response System. Our STARS Emergency Link Centre is available 24/7. Regardless of the time of day or night, we’ll be on the other end of the phone if Albertans need us while using the app.”

Mike Lamacchia, chief operating officer, STARS Air Ambulance

“Opioid use is a serious concern in our province, and AHS EMS is here to help save lives of those who experience opioid poisonings. The expansion of the DORS app will further allow us to save lives of those who use opioids, and those who use them alone and may not be able to call us for help.”

Darren Sandbeck, senior provincial director and chief paramedic, Alberta Health Services, Emergency Medical Services

“The team at Aware360 is pleased that our experience in creating safe, connected solutions for Alberta workers, in conjunction with both the Alberta government and STARS, is now helping to others when they are in need.”

Steve Matthews, chief executive officer, Aware360

With a recent expansion to the Central and North zones, DORS is now available across the province. Alberta’s government is engaging with First Nations and Métis leadership to identify opportunities for expanding access to Indigenous communities.

DORS is already seeing significant success in saving lives across Alberta. To date, DORS has seen over 900 downloads, over 440 registered users, hundreds of unique sessions, and numerous successful emergency medical services dispatches.

DORS is free and can be downloaded to any smartphone from the Google Play or Apple app stores. More information about the app can be found on dorsapp.ca

“Addiction and overdose have taken the lives of far too many in Red Deer, some of whom dying at home, alone. The Digital Overdose Response System is an innovative program that can and will save lives. We are grateful to the Government of Alberta for making this available to our community, and I encourage anyone who may be using alone to download the app, and seek recovery when possible.”

Ken Johnston, mayor, City of Red Deer

“Too many people in our province continue to lose their lives to addiction. Families’ lives are being forever altered. We are raising my sister’s children after her fatal overdose while using alone in suburban Calgary. I would have insisted she used the Digital Overdose Response System when she used alone. We need to educate all Albertans about the value of DORS and the lives this initiative can save!”

Earl Thiessen, executive director, Oxford House Foundation

“If I’m using alone it definitely provides a layer of protection from overdosing and succumbing.”

Anonymous feedback on the DORS app

“I think this app is genius! It is such a good idea and something simple as using your phone and the tools on it to keep safe. The makers of this app should know that this is a life saver.”

Anonymous feedback on the DORS app

“That it exists! Such a good idea, it’s about time something like this was put together. I tell all my friends that use about it and they feel the same way. Thank you for developing this app. Without a doubt, it saves lives.”

Anonymous feedback on the DORS app

“Made me feel more safe. Helped me to feel like I was caring for myself. Saved my life once.”

Anonymous feedback on the DORS app

This summer, Alberta’s government will be launching an ad campaign to spread the word about DORS. To raise awareness with as many Albertans as possible, the advertising campaign will run throughout the province and include a variety of mediums.

The DORS app was designed to save lives while still protecting a person’s privacy. A person’s telephone number and location are the only information used by responders, and STARS will only initiate contact if a medical emergency is suspected. All information is kept strictly confidential.

Albertans struggling with addiction and opioid use can access treatment on demand through Alberta’s Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP). The VODP program is available to any Albertan, anywhere in the province by calling 1-844-383-7688 or visiting VODP.ca. VODP provides same day access to addiction medicine specialists via phone or telehealth. There are no fees and no waitlist for this award winning program.

Quick facts

  • DORS launched in Calgary in August 2021 and has expanded in a phased approach to all five health care zones.
  • First Nations and Metis Settlements interested in expanding the DORS app to their communities can contact Alberta Health at [email protected]
  • Information on treatment and recovery services is available through the DORS app (under the addiction resources tab) and the DORS website.
  • Additional information on DORS, including privacy policy, tutorials and links to download, can be found at dorsapp.ca.
  • Albertans can get free injectable naloxone kits from over 2,000 sites across Alberta. Kits can be obtained anonymously and training is provided.
  • For support, information and referral to services, call Alberta 211 or the Addiction Helpline (1-866-332-2322) or visit recoveryaccessalberta.ca.

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