Contest Number:


Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge Topic 4: Protect

Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge - Topic 4 PROTECT : 

Protecting First Responders and Medical Professionals from

Inadvertent Exposure to Toxic Opioid Levels


The Ohio Opioid Technology Challenge is a three-phase prize competition that seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative technology solutions that address the opioid crisis through addiction prevention and treatment, and overdose avoidance and response. 

The Challenge Phase consists of four Challenge Topics that address specific unmet needs or concerns related to opioid use, abuse and exposure. This Topic seeks solutions that protect first responders and medical professionals from inadvertent exposure to toxic opioid levels.

First responders arriving at the scene of a suspected drug overdose, law enforcement officers searching an area for illicit drugs, or medical professionals performing overdose reversal treatment, are often at risk of being exposed to toxic substances such as heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or other synthetic and non-synthetic opioids. Often these first responders have no way of quickly identifying the presence of dangerous substances, or any means to quickly and effectively protect themselves and others. 

This Topic seeks solutions to assess a scene or patient to determine whether there is risk of exposure to toxic substances and/or act to protect themselves and others.

About the Challenge

NineSigma, on behalf of the State of Ohio seeks responses which offer novel solutions to Protect First Responders and Medical Professionals from Inadvertent Exposure to Toxic Opioid Levels. Responses should be solutions, already in development, focused specifically on the Topic. Responses could include but are not limited to: novel personal protective devices, medical prophylactics, or portable detection equipment.


The Challenge Phase will conclude by awarding up to twelve (12) $200,000 prizes across the four Topics. Prize Recipients of the Challenge Phase will be eligible to compete in the final, Product Phase of the Challenge with prizes of $1 million or more.


Success Criteria

Responses should consider:
  • How your approach aligns with Key Attributes for the Topic for which you are submitting an Entry
  • Technology maturity and time to market
    • For similar approaches, preference will be given to the one that is more mature and/or that has a shorter time to market
  • Potential for broad deployment or implementation
  • Size/scope of audience impacted (“market size”)
  • Robustness
  • Effectiveness 
Your approach should:
  • Prevent, minimize, or counteract exposure to opiates
  • Be fast-acting (preferably in 1-60 seconds)
  • Be simple to use
  • Be robust for field deployment
  • Require minimal space, (e.g., be portable for use in a first responder vehicle)
  • Have a unit cost that enables widespread deployment
  • In the case of opiate detection equipment:
    • Detects presence of legal and illicit opioids and mixtures thereof
      • Preferably able to: discriminate between several opioids, enable detection of related substances, and detect trace amounts
    • Preferably minimizes exposure of person conducting the test (e.g., by non-contact detection)
    • Is not susceptible to interference from other common agents
    • Has low occurrence of false events

Download the Challenge Summary for a full description of the Success Criteria.


Must submit a response by July 11, 2018 by 5:00 PM EDT to be eligible.  See the Challenge Official Rules for details. 

Challenge Moderator
  • Senior Program Manager
  • NineSigma

Welcome to our Innovation Challenge!

Questions?  Feel free to email us at

Contact our Help Desk