Overdose is common among people who use illicit opioids such as heroin, and among those who misuse medications prescribed for pain. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, invites developers to create an innovative, software-based solution that helps people understand what to do if a family member or friend overdoses on heroin or opioid pain medications. 

No need to create new content—this is a chance to get creative with how to present existing opioid overdose prevention information (see “REQUIREMENTS” below and the Rules tab for more information). 

Think you have a $10,000 idea? See the Rules tab for full requirements and information on how to enter this challenge.


Overdose is common among people who use illicit opioids such as heroin, and among those who misuse medications prescribed for pain, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. The incidence of opioid overdose is rising nationwide:

  • Between 2001 and 2010, the number of poisoning deaths in the United States nearly doubled, largely because of overdoses involving prescription opioid analgesics.
  • This increase coincided with a nearly fourfold increase in the use of prescribed opioids for the treatment of pain. 

Based on current scientific evidence, the steps outlined below are recommended to reduce the number of deaths resulting from opioid overdoses:

Step 1: Call for help/911

Step 2: Check for signs of opioid overdose

Step 3: Support the person’s breathing

Step 4: Administer naloxone (the treatment of choice to reverse the potentially fatal respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose)

Step 5: Monitor the person’s response


This challenge is open to Individuals (legal U.S. residents and citizens at least 18 years of age at the time of entry); Teams of eligible individuals; and Organizations (up to 100 employees).


Content: You must use the information on opioid overdose prevention in the SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit section, Five Essential Steps for First Responders,as the content for your product. You must also include the assets included in the Opioid Overdose Prevention Asset file. You may not substantially alter the meaning, intent, or otherwise misrepresent the content from SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Toolkit in whole or in part. The intention of this clause is to ensure that the integrity of the content is maintained. 

Audience: Your submission should be developed for friends, family, and caregivers of people using opioids, and people concerned about someone at risk for overdose. You must utilize the Use Cases provided as examples of the audience you are developing the product for. 

Platforms: Your submission must include a software component such as:

  • Native smartphone or tablet app (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile)
  • Web app
  • Desktop app (Windows PC, Mac Desktop) 

New and Existing Solutions: Submissions may be newly created or pre-existing products modified to meet the content and requirements of this Challenge. 

Supplementary Materials: You must submit a brief demo video of no more than five (5) minutes that demonstrates and explains the product, uploaded to ChallengePost and YouTube. You must also submit at least one (1) image/screenshot of your working product. 

If you’re among the top five finalists, you may also be asked to participate in a webinar session with the judging panel to explain your product further. 

Testing: You must make your product available for no charge to judges for evaluation during the judging period. 

Availability: A free version of your product must be made available free of cost to the public for at least one (1) calendar year. 

See the Rules tab for full eligibility and submission requirements.

Hackathon Sponsors


$22,500 in prizes

First Prize

Ten thousand dollars

Second Prize

Seven thousand five hundred dollars

Third Prize

Five thousand dollars

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

Before entering the contest, please review the rules and eligibility requirements by clicking on the Rules tab at the top of this page. 

  1. Create an account or log in with an existing ChallengePost account.
  2. On CHALLENGE PAGE URL, click on the Register button to confirm your interest in participating. This step ensures that you will receive important challenge updates.
  3. Visit SAMHSA’s Store to access the SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit.
  4. Create your product!
  5. Provide a link to a website or app store where your application can be accessed or downloaded free of charge by SAMHSA, ChallengePost, and the judges OR provide a free login.
  6. Confirm that you have read and agree to the Official Rules, and submit your app by including:                   
  • a title, and one or more images of the app;
  • a video (5 minutes or less) demonstrating the working app on a phone or tablet, Web browser, Mac or PC computer, or an emulator;
  • a text description of the app’s functionality;
  • a text description of testing instructions for the app (including operating system, device, or testing environment requirements, etc.)
  • URL link to your app, and all other required submission form fields.


Questions? Click the Discussions tab to submit a question to SAMHSA about this challenge.


Laura Rosas

Laura Rosas
J.D., MPH, Lead Public Health Advisor, SAMHSA

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of Performance
    40 points -includes how well the Application functions technically,& extent to which the Application responds to the Competition topic and target audience, & how thoroughly & clearly the solution utilizes the required assets.
  • Quality of User Experience
    25 points - includes visual aesthetic and ease of use.
  • Potential Impact
    25 points-includes the potential impact related to successfully informing target audiences about how to prevent opioid overdoses and provide a spectrum of additional support for the prevention, treatment and recovery of opioid misuse and abuse.
  • Feasibility of Use
    10 points -includes how easily target audiences and members of the public can access and use the Application.

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