Three weeks ago, my 18-year old stepson died in his bed. Police say it was almost certainly an overdose. We’re waiting for the coroner’s report to confirm. His primary drug of addiction was fake Xanax pills that are widely available and almost always contain fentanyl.
Fentanyl killed Michael Jackson.
Fentanyl killed Prince.
Fentanyl killed Tom Petty.
Fentanyl probably killed half of the 72,000 Americans who died of drug overdoses in 2017.
For reference, fewer than 59,000 Americans in military service died during the entire Vietnam War.
Most fentanyl comes from illegal Chinese drug labs, according to our government. Mexico is the second biggest source. I call them #FentanylChina and #FentanylMexico. Those are their brand identities now, at least to me. About 72,000 families come around to that opinion every year. The Trump administration is acting aggressively against the epidemic, but it’s a long, hard fight.
So I wondered how I can help. I have a plan.
My stepson often complained that it was hard to find a sponsor when he needed one most, when the urge to use was greatest. I think we can solve that problem by the end of the week, with your help.
Here’s how: I’m co-founder of a startup called WhenHub. Our newest app is called Interface by WhenHub, and it’s available for both Apple and Android. The app allows anyone to sign up as an “expert” on any topic whatsoever, and people looking for advice can immediately connect with a video call via the app. We hide the personal contact information from both sides.
The app is free to download and it takes about one minute to sign up as an expert. The idea I’m pitching here is to attract volunteer sponsors to sign up to take calls from anyone in need. If enough sponsors sign up, an addict can reach a live person to talk them through their crisis via an immediate video connection.
Apple app is here.
Android app is here.
Most experts on our app charge a fee based on the length of the call, and the app takes care of the billing in the background. But experts (in this case sponsors) can set their fees to zero, and in that case no one will be paying for anything. Sponsors, I have learned, are generally not motivated by money. But the option is there if they choose to charge. Here I filled out a profile as if I were a sponsor, setting my fees to zero.
If I were signing up for the first time, I would also click the Update Profile button on the top and provide as much or as little about me as necessary, including a photo.
For full disclosure, my startup makes nothing when experts take free calls. But obviously anything we do for the world that is useful and good will also attract attention to the app. That’s a secondary benefit, albeit a big one. The primary benefit is that having a sponsor available to talk to right away might save lives. And more generally, removing any friction between an addict in crisis and a sponsor has got to be a move in the right direction.
The only obstacle to this plan is awareness. That’s where you come in. Think about how many people die from drug and alcohol use every year, and ask yourself if that’s important enough to share this idea on social media. Think of the addicts in your life and send them this blog post. If you know people who are already sponsors, ask what they think of this idea. If we attract a good batch of sponsors on the app, I will promote the heck out of it.
Sponsors can ignore the crypto token options in the Interface by WhenHub app. That stuff is optional and primarily for people who are comfortable with crypto wallets, crypto exchanges, and that sort of thing. Most users will just use our credit card option when there are fees to pay. If you don’t plan to charge, you can ignore all of that too.
At this point in my life, I only invest in ideas that can make a difference to civilization. The Interface by WhenHub app has potential to fill in all kinds of gaps in healthcare, education, training, mentoring, and more. I hope you can help spread the word with a tweet or a share.
Here are the links to the app stores for download:
Apple app is here.
Android app is here.
Thank you for helping.