NYC plans to install anti-OD ‘life alert’ devices in apartments to connect drug users to 911

Mayor Eric Adams’ administration is planning to install “life alert” devices in apartments to help drug users avoid dying from an overdose — in another taxpayer-funded reform critics say encourages substance abuse.

The city Health Department intends to award a contract for a pilot program targeting residents considered a “high risk” to overdose, officials told The Post.

The controversial contract will go to Lifeguard Digital Health, Inc., which manufactures a device called Lifeguard Lite — a wall-mounted physical timer that can be activated by residents for self-monitoring of drug use.

The New York City Department of Health is planning on installing “life alert” devices in apartments to prevent drug overdose deaths. Lifeguard Digital Health
The New York City Department of Health is planning on installing “life alert” devices in apartments to prevent drug overdose deaths. Lifeguard Digital Health

Before injecting drugs, a resident who is alone can set the timer for up to six minutes.

After it goes off, residents have the option to either extend the timer by one minute at a time, or hit the “I’m OK” button to disable it.

If the drug user doesn’t respond, LifeguardLite sounds a loud alarm and sends an alert to building staff to go check on the resident.

If no one turns off the alarm after checking, the device calls 911 directly, so city medics can respond to a potential overdose and administer naloxone.

The device also monitors room temperature.

Conservative Party chairman Gerard Kassar said city health officials should be helping addicts kick the habit completely rather than condoning or enabling drug use.

The Lifeguard Lite devices allow users to set a timer while injecting drugs that will alert building staff if not turned off. Lifeguard Digital Health
The Lifeguard Lite devices allow users to set a timer while injecting drugs that will alert building staff if not turned off. Lifeguard Digital Health

“Can you imagine Alcoholic Anonymous coming up with a program that allowed you to drink booze?” Kassar said. “This is using taxpayer resources to allow drug use. It’s a continuation of drug injection sites.”

But Health Department officials said Lifeguard Lite will be used on a trial basis with drug users at high risk for a fatal overdose — an experiment worth trying because OD deaths have surged more than 75% since 2019, largest because of abuse of potent fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

The device contacts 911 directly if nobody turns off the alarm after a check in. Lifeguard Digital Health
The device contacts 911 directly if nobody turns off the alarm after a check in. Lifeguard Digital Health

“Our focus at the Department of Health is to save lives. The Administration has committed to exploring innovative tools – like this pilot program – to reduce the number of overdose deaths in New York City by 25 percent by 2030,” an agency spokesman said.

“Lifeguard Lite has been installed in supportive housing units in other jurisdictions and has proven to successfully avert overdose deaths by ensuring that this simple life-saving intervention can be delivered in a timely manner.”

The pilot program will target residents who have a high risk for overdosing. Lifeguard Digital Health
The pilot program will target residents who have a high risk for overdosing. Lifeguard Digital Health

The city has two overdose prevention centers in East Harlem and Washington — known as “safe” drug injection sites  — where addicts can bring their own drugs and use clean needles to shoot up under the watch of medical professionals.

The controversial monitoring program has been credited with preventing more than 1,000 overdoses and the mayor backs the expansion of them.

The Lifeguard Lite monitoring system is being used in British Columbia, Canada.

“When placed in social housing environments (including Single Room Occupancy buildings (SROs), public restrooms, safe injection sites), LifeguardLite

™

protects individuals who use drugs alone by alerting a customized admin dashboard in case of an emergency,” LifeGuard Digital Health says on its website.