Rapid Opioid Alert and Response (ROAR)

Preventing opioid overdose by linking heroin users to life-saving resources and information.

Executive Summary

Death from opioid overdose can be prevented. Yet, the number of overdose deaths continues to rise. One person dies from opioid overdose every 20 minutes. Each year, more people die from drug overdoses than traffic accidents and the annual cost to society is $20.4 Billion.

This is a huge public health problem and we have developed a cutting edge solution to add to the multi-pronged approach to combat this crisis. Our solution is called ROAR (Rapid Opioid Alert and Response), and it will save lives. ROAR uses real-time monitoring to identify spikes in overdoses and alerts the networks that interact with heroin users in the affected area. The alert contains information that can save lives, prevent overdoses through harm reduction, and empower individuals to seek treatment.

The ROAR system pilot was launched in Baltimore City in May and Anne Arundel County in June. We established a probability distribution of reported opioid overdoses in each area and adapted the system to work with the data inputs and communication channels for each. We’re exploring opportunities to expand the pilot and build a body of evidence that will demonstrate the ROAR system can be widely adapted and implemented.

A project supported by the: HHS Ignite Accelerator

Team Members

Mitra Ahadpour, MD., DABAM (Project Lead), SAMHSA
Gus Lodato, SAMHSA
Chandler McClellan, Ph.D., SAMHSA
Kaitlin Abell White, SAMHSA


March 2016: Project selected into the HHS Ignite Accelerator
April 2016: Time in the Accelerator began
July 2016: Time in the Accelerator ended

Project Sponsor

Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D., Director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)

Additional Information

Watch the ROAR Lightning Talk (July 14, 2016)