What the Startup’s App Does
The startup’s app was created by Affect Therapeutics, a remotely operated US healthcare business that aims to “[change] the way the world treats stimulant addiction.” The app offers cash prizes for users that complete exercises intended to build the skills needed to end a meth addiction; mindfulness and meditation exercises are one such example. The app collects data on sleep and exercise quality that helps the healthcare company better understand the situation its users are in and how best to help them.
Users can also access services from licensed therapists able to help them cope with day-to-day struggles as well as help them process feelings about the difficult task they are undertaking and to encourage them to continue.
The Addiction Problem in the US
Addiction is a serious problem in the United States (US), and there’s no clear-cut solution. In 2019 and 2020, national news outlets often reported the dangers and increasing frequency of addictions of all sorts. According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, the deadly effects of these drug addictions are growing: The number of overdose deaths involving meth increased 7.5 times from 2007 to 2017, a clear sign of an increasingly common problem with serious consequences.
An Expert on the Necessity of the Addiction Therapy Business
Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, University of California-San Francisco professor of medicine and substance abuse researcher, told KHN that while the topic of meth addiction is real and troublesome, it has not yet reached the public awareness it so desperately needs.
“It is an epidemic wave that’s coming, that’s already here,” he said. “But it hasn’t fully reached our public consciousness.”
Ciccarone also told the University of California that methamphetamine users deserve to be treated with the same care that a person with a mental illness would be — but, too often, they are not shown the same level of compassion.
“The number of deaths is staggering, but we have to underline all of this through the lens of dependency,” Ciccarone said. “When you become dependent on a substance in such a way that your brain develops new, sometimes bizarre behavioral patterns, your brain is no longer normal. It is a sick organ that needs to be thought of in the same way as any other organ. People with substance use disorders deserve treatment for their illness.”
The Value of the Healthcare App Business
There’s also a significant market for any mobile app business that seeks to provide healthcare for these patients. The mobile app market is growing at an incredible compound annual growth rate of 45% and is expected to grow from a business valuation of $17.92 billion in 2020 to $348.98 billion.
That means that Affect’s startup app is working in a profitable and important industry. If they keep up the work, they may be able to provide real help for those who need it.
About the Author
Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.