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Table of Contents Problem Framing Forward Concepts

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misTREATed Sober Car Point Journal Stay Connected Intervention Planner Ask for Help Text for Help Intervention Keeper Jail to Family Risk Maps New ID Risk Map Alert Addict Map Neighborhood Watch Clean iHelp Token Message What You’re Missing Let’s Talk Support Wall Help Locator I’m Convinced Show Me Clean Adjust Crisis Plan


56 - 57

Problem Framing

We propose a call for social action in assisting and treating — not criminalizing — physical drug addictions. Helping both the addict and the family involved.



Depicted in the following concepts is the story of Sam and how drug addiction has led him to become nothing more than a shadow of his former self.


Concept #1: misTREATed


Sam is a recovering drug addict. Having been in trouble with the law enforcement for possession of drugs, the court system decided to implement the MisTREATed campaign and not treat Sam as a criminal. Instead, they want to work with Sam’s health issues and help him recover from his drug addiction as long he takes his treatment seriously.


“The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoner population.” [1]

“More than 200,000 people addicted to heroin pass through American correctional facilities each year.” [2]

Exemplar Students for Sensible Drug Policy is “focused on reforming the drug policies of the United States and other countries, while also empowering young people to get involved in the political process through this necessary effort.” [4]


Concept #2: Sober Car

The court system gave Sam the Sober Car. The Sober Car system tests the driver’s sobriety. If the driver is not sober, the Sober Car prevents the ignition from starting. The car shown above is a very small compact car that would fold up and remain parked. The Sober Car system can be installed in any vehicle to help cut down on potential costs that a local government might incur.


“The possibilities for [Android Breathalyzer] could be plenty, for example if you blew a B.A.C over the legal driving limit, a DIY auto ignition lock would prevent you from driving home inebriated.� [5]

Exemplar City Car is a small electric car that folds up for compact parking. It is designed for urban travel and large enough to hold one additional passenger.

Exemplar The Android Breathalyzer is a prototype that connects to an Android app via bluetooth or USB.


Concept #3: Point Journal

Dear Journal, So close to getting the Starbucks giftcard. Today I had the urge to use. I was able to resist, but it was so hard...

To encourage Sam in his recovery, he begins to journal every day using his Point Journal application. For every day that he journals, he gains redeemable points. As points accumulate, Sam can redeem these points for gift cards from local businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores. The Point Journal encourages Sam to write about his problems on a daily basis.


“Successful drug recovery or alcohol recovery involves changing attitudes, acquiring knowledge, and developing skills to meet the many challenges of sobriety.” [8]

“Treatment needs to consider the whole person.” [9]

Exemplar Life Journal is where “you can write about thoughts, feelings, experiences, and coping strategies--keeping alcohol recovery and/or drug recovery a priority in your life.” [10]


Concept #4: Stay Connected

er mb m! me Sa Re call


Sam’s brother, Jesse, is actively involved in encouraging Sam in his recovery. Aware of Sam’s situation, Jesse has downloaded the Stay Connected application on his smartphone. Stay Connected periodically alerts Jesse to keep in touch with Sam, prompting him to call, text, or visit Sam. When Jesse sees the alert, he can either immediately respond and contact Sam, or he can delay the alert for a more appropriate time of the day.


Family involvement is important. [12]

Listening is “the most under used yet most important communication skill.” [13]

“One important asset of good communication is good timing.” [14]


Concept #5: Intervention Planner

Early on in the recovery process, Jesse began using the Intervention Planner. Intervention Planner helps Jesse, along with his family and Sam’s friends, plan interventions for Sam. Through Intervention Planner, Jesse can invite appropriate people to take part in the intervention.


A heart-to-heart conversation can start the road to recovery, but when it comes to addiction, a more focused approach is often needed. Take action through a formal intervention. [15]

“An intervention is a non confrontational confrontation! have the best chance for success the tone of the meeting must be non confrontational, respectful and loving.” [16]

“...there is nothing more effective than the persuasive power of family and friends to convince individuals to seek help.” [17]


Concept #6: Ask for Help


At any moment that Sam has an urge to use drugs, he can use the Ask for Help application. Ask for Help sends an SOS call to his support group, such as Jesse, letting them know he has a craving.


“On average drug cravings pass after 20 minutes.” [18]

Exemplar iHeal is an application that uses a sensor band around the wrists and continuously measures indicators of arousal or stress: heart rate, temperature, body motion and the skin’s electrical activity. [19]


Concept #7: Text for Help

Send to: Text For Help Body: I need help!

1 4 7 *

8 0


At any time that Sam is in danger of relapse, he can text a number asking for help from Text For Help. Sam will receive a live response from Text For Help, encouraging Sam to overcome his urge. If the phone has GPS enabled, it will transmit his location to Text For Help. If Sam’s life is in danger then Text For Help can notify local law enforcement or involve 911. Text For Help can be used by regular cell phones and doesn’t require the installation of an application.


“Cell phones present new opportunities for intervention research, connecting homeless youth to family and home-based peers who can be sources of social support in times of need.” [21]

“Advocates who work with the District’s homeless estimate that 30 percent to 45 percent of the people they help have cellphones.” [22]


Concept #8: Intervention Keeper “I want to hang out like we used to.”

“I miss the real you.”

“We never see you around anymore.” “We love you so much”

After the intervention has been held, Jesse and Sam add audio clips, video clips and letters from the intervention to Sam’s phone, using Intervention Keeper. This application allows Sam to watch or read them in the future, reminding him why he’s getting sober.


A heart-to-heart conversation can start the road to recovery, but when it comes to addiction, a more focused approach is often needed. Take action through a formal intervention. [15]

“An intervention is a non confrontational confrontation! have the best chance for success the tone of the meeting must be non confrontational, respectful and loving.” [16]

“...there is nothing more effective than the persuasive power of family and friends to convince individuals to seek help.” [17]


Concept #9: Jail to Family

Unfortunately, Sam spends several weeks in jail during a relapse. While he’s in jail, he uses Jail to Family to communicate with Jesse and his family. The local jail allows Sam to use Jail to Family instead of waiting several days or a week to receive a letter.


“The only contact I have with my brother is through sending letters in the mail. It can take a week to get a response.” [23]

Its hard for friends and family to help when they can’t have instant communication with the person.

Addiction is about instant satisfaction, it needs to be combated with instant care.


Concept #10: Risk Maps

As Sam gets sober, he creates a map using Risk Maps with all the spots where he would formerly get high, or where druggies would hang out. This map shows Sam areas he should avoid, marking areas in yellow, for caution, and red for danger.


“Symptoms are often initiated by particular times, places, people, or events.” [24]

“She relies on [her “drug circle” of friends] to solve all of her problems in her life including family issues, financial issues, and her dropping grades in school.” [25]

Exemplar Safe Area Wiki is a site dedicated to safety. Users can find information about crime or safe areas and neighborhoods all around the world here. [26]


Concept #11: New ID

Now that Sam is recovering, he turns to New ID, a program that aims to help Sam find a new interests, talents and hobbies. By giving him something new to live for and a new purpose, Sam will be less likely to relapse. A new identity will give him hope and a chance to experience positive change.


“As a part of beginning again after rehab you should look into picking up on once beloved hobbies or perhaps pursuing a new passion that you have recently discovered.” [28]

“When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.” [29]


Concept #12: Risk Map Alert


As Sam traverses the city, Risk Map Alert keeps track of his GPS location. When Sam approaches a dangerous area the phone will alert a friend, family or sponsor. This person can then take appropriate measures to help Sam.


“Once triggers have been identified, one must find new ways of coping with those situations.” [31]

“All I felt I could do is be there for her... even though if you desert someone with a drug problem, they will only go further down that downward spiral” [32]


Concept #13: Addict Map

I am a drug addict.

Sam is curious how many people are addicts. He turns to Addict Map, where recovering addicts can admit they are addicts. The web application records their location but doesn’t record their personal information. It then creates a map that helps raise awareness of the actual number of people that are addicts in that area.


Exemplar This website provides people of a map of where registered sex offenders live. While this exemplar is used to stigmatize, Addict Map is made purely to raise awareness.


Concept #14: Neighborhood Watch




far iun tri

g 7m

afa riu n

Members of Sam’s community utilizes Neighborhood Watch to track sightings of things that could be drug related (broken bottles, needles, graffiti). Though the sightings might not legitimate issues, it will notify others to keep an eye out.


Study: “15 of the 18 studies provided evidence that neighborhood watch reduced crime.” [35]

A Neighborhood Watch sign containing a “Low Crime” message showed the lowest levels of perceived crime and victimization, and the highest levels of perceived community safety and community quality. [36]

Exemplar USA on watch is the national Neighborhood Watch Program encouraging neighbors to look after other neighbors. [37]


Concept #15: Clean I’ve been sober for 2 years 23 hours sober.

I’ve been clean for 6 months Sober 2 months tomorrow

I’ve been sober for 3 days I haven’t used in 3 weeks I’ve relapsed 3 times

I relapsed yesterday

Further establishing a positive support group, Sam joins a social network called Clean. Clean allows Sam to connect with others that are in various stages of recovery.


“One major benefit of [recovery groups] is simply providing a drug-free social outlet to people whose previous friendships are likely to have been organized around their addictions.” [39]

Exemplar “Whether you’re sober, clean, or seeking help with your drug addiction or alcoholism, we welcome you, and will connect you with other people who share YOUR addiction, in YOUR local area, and all across the world!” [40]


Concept #16: iHelp


iHeal is device that records the biological signals of the wearer, such as sweat, heart rate, etc. Sam has agreed to wear this device so that he can record information about how his body responds during an urge to relapse. iHelp is an application where iHeal can report data to. Jesse is able to log into iHelp and see how his brother is doing, based on the biological data.


“Not sure my friend was addicted, but he was certainly secretive. He flat denied he took anything. Pretty sure it went on for years.” [42]

Supporters stop trusting addicts. Even when the addict says they are clean, the supporter can never really be sure if they can trust them.

Exemplar Exemplar USA on watch is the national iHeal is an application that uses a sensor Neighborhood Watch Program band around the wrists and continuously encouraging neighbors to look after measures indicators of arousal or stress: other neighbors. [ heart rate, temperature, body motion and the skin’s electrical activity. [19]


Concept #17: Token Message

24 Hour

30 Days

60 Days

90 Days

6 Months

9 Months

As part of his treatment, Sam attends a twelve step program. As he makes progress in the program, he earns tokens and coins. Using Token Trophy Holder, Sam is able to record a voice memo for that particular token. Weeks and months later when Sam wishes to reflect, he can listen to the memos of each token, and be reminded of his progress.


“There is evidence that early on many people in AA carried personal momentos to remind themselves of the importance of their sobriety.� [43]

Exemplar 50 US state collection holder iFitness is anquarter accessory that tracks and map. one’s running statistics such as speed, duration, intensity and distance into an Exemplar[x4] application.


Concept #18: What You’re Missing

get to I now y see m r te daugh y a everyd

When Sam is discouraged, he turns What You’re Missing smartphone application. By simply shaking the phone, the application displays encouraging words from recovered addicts, conveying why his life is better sober.


“When thinking about trying to help him, the biggest obstacle seems to be to find a way to motivate him to want to better and sober life.� [23]


Concept #19: Let’s Talk

When Sam feels like he might relapse or feels a strong emotion, he records an audio recording of his thoughts with the Let’s Talk Band. As he’s sorting through issues, a significant other or family member is also doing the same thing from their own perspective. These clips are then sent to a tablet device so that the two of them can sit down together and listen to the clips. This leads to a discussion which can also be recorded within the application on the tablet device.


“It was a struggle to hang out with her, I knew there was some major substance abuse problems, but I had no idea to what extent. She couldn’t be open about it so our relationship became strained and distant.” [25]

Exemplar Let’s Talk for accessory PTSD is a device that helps iFitness is an that tracks bridgerunning the communication one’s statistics such between as speed, a soldier returning fromdistance war with into Post-an duration, intensity and Exemplar Traumatic Stress application. [x4] Disorder and their significant other. From our research we felt that the device could be reappropriated for addicts. [45]


Concept #20: Support Wall


m You save

They need your support.


I can never repay you. Thank you. ars, sober 7 ye I’ve been my loving to ks an all th ve up never ga wife who dn’t have ul Co e. m on r. ithout he done it w

I didn’t wa nt their pit y, support . I’m stru gg only their ling to ge out of this t life, but it s hard without th eir help.

I couldn’t have done it without them


Thank yo

I co the uldn wit mI co ’t ha h do out uldn ve do ne the ’t h ne it w mI av it w itho cou e d ith o o ut l the dn’t h ne it ut m ave

You were my guardian angel, even when I didn’t deserve. I wouldn’t be here today if not for you.

The role of the family in an addict’s recovery is very important. Support Wall Campaign aims to help families understand why their support is needed. Support Wall allows people to share their stories so other others can be encouraged by their words and experiences.


“The thing that I’ve learned in my studies that surprised me the most about addiction recovery is the importance of peer and family support.” [47]


Concept #21: Help Locator

I can help.

When Sam needs to find a clinic or the help of a professional, Help Locator is an app that he turns to. Help Locator takes Sam’s location and searches the area for clinics, centers, counselors, or any place where he might turn for help. The app provides various contact information, an address and locates them on a map.


Exemplar Locator for finding the nearest drug abuse treatment program nearest to the user. [48]


Concept #22: I’m Convinced Hi Sam, it’s you.

You don’t want to do this. Remember all the....

Sometimes the best voice of encouragement to hear is his own voice. I’m Convinced is an app where Sam can record encouraging words to himself. When he’s discouraged or feeling an urge to relapse, Sam listens to a random recording and finds positive influence in the moment of need.


Exemplar Voice Memos is an app that allows the user to record themselves saying things that they are supposed to remember.


Concept #23: Show Me

Drug use can take a toll on the physical appearance of a person. Show Me is an app where Sam is able to look at older photographs of himself from before he began using drugs, as a reminder of his former self. It also shows photographs of himself after he used drugs. Seeing the changes gives Sam motivation to not relapse, as the reality of drug use hits home.


One of the most influential factors in a teenager’s decision to avoid using drugs is seeing before and after photos of drug abuse. [51]

“The short time to facial devastation may have a big impact on kids. ‘Some of these photos show changes in less than six months,’ he says. ‘This is the kind of time frame kids understand.’” [53]

Exemplar From Drugs to Mugs - documentary that shows before/after photos of drug abusers. [51]


Concept #24: Clean Adjust

Since healing involves a holistic approach, Clean Adjust is a personal informatics application that Sam uses to regain his physical stamina and strength. Clean Adjust is a physical fitness tool that encourages those recovering from drugs to become physically active. It also helps Sam establish a positive sleeping, eating and hygiene regime.


“[Personal informatics] tools help people gain selfknowledge about one’s behaviors, habits, and thoughts.” [54]

Exemplar iFitness is an accessory that tracks one’s running statistics such as speed, duration, intensity and distance into an application. [55]


Concept #25: Crisis Plan IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY: Contact: Jesse -Get away from the situation -Listen to calming music -Touch base with my sponsor immediately.

What should Sam’s family and friends do in case of a crisis? Crisis Plan helps them organize a plan in case Sam experiences a crisis. Preparing this information in advance helps mitigate the severity of a crisis, if and when it were to occur.


“Although the ultimate goal of relapse prevention is to avoid relapse altogether, statistics demonstrate that relapse potential is very real.” [56]

“...initial treatment is often effective at eliminating the unwanted behavior. However, these effects are rarely maintained long-term without some type of preventive planning.” [56]

“Relapse Prevention: Have a Plan” [57]


References Cover Photo @4.30.12


[1] @4.28.12 [2] @4.28.12 [3]image: SSDP @4.28.12 [4] @4.28.12

Sober Car

[5] @4.28.12 [6]image: City Car @4.28.12 [7]image: Android Breathalyzer @4.29.12

Point Journal

[8] @4.29.12 [9] @4.28.12 [10] @4.29.12 [11]image: Life Journal @4.29.12

Stay Connected

[12] @4.29.12 [13] @4.29.12 [14] @4.29.12

Intervention Planner

[15] @4.29.12 [16] @4.29.12 [17] @4.29.12

Ask for Help

[18] @4.29.12 [19] @4.29.12 [20] image: iHeal!)-.html @4.29.12

Text for Help

[21] @4.29.12 [22] @4.29.12

Intervention Keeper

[15] @4.29.12 [16] @4.29.12 [17] @4.29.12

Jail to Family

[23] Interview: Brother of an Addict @4.15.12

Risk Maps

[24] @4.29.12 [25] Interview: Friend of an Addict @4.20.12 [26] @4.29.12 [27] image: Safe Area Wiki @4.29.12

New ID

[28] @4.29.12 [29] @4.29.12 [30] images (background): @4.29.12

Risk Map Alert

[31] @4.29.12 [32] Interview: Friend of an Addict @4.15.12

Addict Map

[34] image: Family Watch Dog @4.29.12


Neighborhood Watch

[35] @4.29.12 [36] @4.29.12 [37] [38] image: USA Watch


[39] @4.29.12 [40] @4.29.12 [41] image: In The Rooms @4.29.12


[42] Interview: Friend of someone that overdosed @4.21.12 [19] @4.29.12

Token Message

[43] [44] image: Quarter Map

What You’re Missing

[23] Interview: Brother of an Addict @4.15.12

Let’s Talk

[25] Interview: Friend of an Addict @4.20.12 [45] Nathan Bilancio, Alex Clayton, Meredith Elzea, Jenn Hughes @Fall 2011 [46] image: Let’s Talk Nathan Bilancio, Alex Clayton, Meredith Elzea, Jenn Hughes @4.29.12

Support Wall

[47] Interview: Psychology student focusing on psychopharmacology and drug addiction @4.23.12

Help Locator

[48] @4.29.12 [49] image: SAMHSA @4.29.12

I’m Convinced

[50] image: Voice Memo App @4.29.12

Show Me

[51] [52] image: From Drugs to Mugs T57tB8RYu_A [53]

Clean Adjust

[54] @4.29.12 [55] @4.29.12 [55] image: iFitness @ 4.29.12

Crisis Plan

[56] @4.29.12 [57] @ 4.29.12


Breaking Addictions  
Breaking Addictions  

A design workbook looking at how we can use technology to help break drug addictions