A growing number of startups and larger companies began experimenting with the utility of blockchain to address public health crises – such as the opiate epidemic in the United States.
The cryptocurrencies have had a test report with some United States order forces, which see popular forms like Bitcoin as a scapegoat for an ongoing opioid crisis.
The infamous Silk Road market, commonly associated with drug sales, accepted Bitcoin for transactions. This put the digital currency under the control of order forces after the authorities closed the site and arrested the infamous Ross Ulbricht (Dread Pirate Roberts).
In May, authorities arrested Aaron Shamo and accused him of selling Fentanyl. Police said he accepted Bitcoin as payment and allegedly found more than 500 virtual coins in his home
Cryptocurrency as a scapegoat
Around the same time, a growing number of law enforcement officials had claimed that Bitcoin was fueling the opioid crisis since it was used as a tool to buy deadly drugs from places like China.
Some government officials, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, supported anti-money laundering legislation that would have repressed virtual currency to "help us make more arrests than those who sell these deadly substances online.
However, the research shows less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions have criminal nuances. There are a growing number of companies examining how blockchain can be used to stem the opioid crisis.
Blockchain Gets To Work
The IBM industry giant has worked with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data project that could help to reverse the opioid crisis
The CDC helped IBM build a blockchain-based surveillance system and to help hospitals and doctors obtain information on prescriptions. The idea is to get data on what types of people are seeking assistance, as well as understanding how antibiotics and opiates are prescribed.
At the end of April Bloomberg reported on Intel's efforts and on a number of health companies have developed a blockchain-based system to track where and how drugs come out of the supply chain.
By tracing medications and medications from the manufacturer to their final destination, some think it may be much easier to monitor dependent people heading for more doctors for more prescriptions.
According to David Houlding, director of health, privacy and security at Intel, this system could "significantly reduce the opioid epidemic".
A global blockchain monitoring network for pills?
At the moment, the duty to keep track of requirements is mainly based on state-level monitoring programs. But some people cross the lines of the state to take the pills, which complicates the problem.
Houlding noted that the ultimate goal would be to bring all companies and suppliers of drugs onto the blockchain so that regulatory agencies could provide oversight.
This type of potential information coordination has attracted the interest of the FDA, which is reportedly also eager to see how blockchain could be used when it comes to sharing medical records.
The ability of the FDA to have access to prescription refill behavior through a blockchain-based database system could give them an immense view of how opioids are disseminated in specific communities.
What do you think about the potential of blockchain in tackles the opioid crisis in the United States? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below
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