New addiction recovery app launched by King’s College London

King’s College London has launched a new app for people using substances or in recovery from addiction. The app, called ‘SURE Recovery’, is designed to support people to track their recovery journeys and achieve their personal goals. Funded by a grant from Action on Addiction, with additional financial support from the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre, the app has been co-designed by researchers, people in recovery, and the digital health company Mindwave Ventures.

Available on both iOS and Android devices, the app is free to download and use. It enables people to monitor their recovery and sleep, and to receive personalised feedback based on their current progress. The app also provides information on the life-saving drug naloxone, including what to do in the event of a heroin overdose. There is an additional diary feature offering a safe space to record thoughts and feelings, an artwork feature allowing people to share their creations with the recovery community, and free access to a book on recovery.

Paul Lennon, one of a number of people from the London-based peer mentoring service Aurora who worked on the project from the beginning, said: “Being involved from the early stages means that people with direct experience of using substances can have a real sense of ownership of this app and its contents. I believe that making a commitment to use this app once a day could really help people, particularly people who are in early recovery. The app is easy-to-use and modern. It’s exciting to see”.

Professor Jo Neale from the National Addiction Centre, King’s College London, who led the project, has conducted numerous studies to better understand addiction, treatment, and recovery. In recent years, she and her colleagues have developed tools to help people to monitor and reflect on their recovery, but also on their sleep, which is often an overlooked aspect of substance use.

Professor Neale commented: “We were developing tools and attracting interest from across the globe, but that interest was mostly from people wanting to monitor and assess their patients. We knew that people in recovery wanted the tools in an app so that they could record and refer to their own scores in private.

Thanks to the Action on Addiction grant, we have been able to work with people who use substances and addiction treatment services to develop an app with them and for them. We believe it will be a really useful tool for people, but we also want to find out how we can improve the app going forwards. This is why it is so important to continue this vital joint work.”

Graham Beech, Chief Executive of Action on Addiction said:

“We’re delighted to be able to work with Professor Neale and her team in developing and promoting this new app which will be instrumental in supporting people seeking recovery from addiction. Digital platforms have an important role to play in addressing the growing problems of addiction and we were very keen to be involved in this important project.”

“This is another great example of how our longstanding partnership with King’s has been able to support the development of pioneering research which has the potential to change the way we help those affected by addiction.”

People who download the app will also be given the opportunity to participate in further research by sharing their data with the research team, and by providing feedback on the app. These optional features will help Neale and her colleagues better understand substance use, sleep and naloxone use, and potentially improve treatment. The team will also explore how the app is being used and how it might be improved in the future.

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