A portable device taps tech to fight opioid addiction

Suppressing a portable device.


A Massachusetts company announces a portable device that it says can relieve chronic pain, offering a high-tech alternative to opioids.

Quell is a drug-free device built by Waltham, Mass.-based NeuroMetrix. The portable, which is worn on the calf, is designed to block chronic pain, according to the CEO of the company, Dr. Shai Gozani. “[The] technology stimulates the sensory nerves in your calf, sending nerve impulses to the brain, which lead to the release of your body’s natural pain blockers called enkephalins,” he told Fox News by e-mail. “Quell is designed for multiple types and sources of chronic pain like back pain, arthritic pain, leg and foot pain, among others.”

The system, launched in 2015, consists of a rechargeable neurostimulator that is worn in a neoprene belt. Users should, however, also the purchase of disposable electrodes that work with the neurostimulator. Each electrode lasts for two weeks, according to the company.

Quell is approved by the FDA for use during the day while active, or at night while sleeping, and can also be customized on the basis of a Quell app, Gozani said. The app allows users to calibrate their devices, and adjust the intensity of their therapy sessions from their phones or tablets.


Suppressing the Starter Kit, including the device, portable strap, charging equipment, and the 1-month supply of the electrodes, is priced at $249. A 1-month supply of the electrodes is $29.95.

Gozani told Fox News that the technology can be a useful instrument in the fight against opioid addiction, citing estimates that three-quarters of Americans are not taking medications as prescribed. “One of the biggest challenges for any medical intervention is the patient’s adherence,” he said. “We have invested significant research and design attention to building the habit of daily use with improvements to the Curb of the Device and the App which will start this autumn.”

The company says that additional product news will be coming soon.

This is not the first time that the technology has been used in an attempt to address the opioid crisis.


For the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28, Google worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on the development of a Google Maps tool to help people get rid of medications they no longer need.

In addition, a group of Kentucky middle-school students won a prestigious award for developing an ingenious device that allows emergency responders for the safe collection of dangerous needles left behind by opioid and other drug users.

The students of Ashland High School in Ashland, KENTUCKY. one of the winners of Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, which promotes Science, Technology, engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM).

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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