Designing an Articulating Ultrasound Transducer Arm for Use in Clinical Trials Treating Cocaine Use Disorder; An Investigation of the Societal Implications of Addiction Treatments in the U.S Healthcare System

Smith, Emerson, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Allen, Timothy, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia

This research explores the relationship between social determinants of health and cocaine addiction in the United States, in addition to the technical construction of an articulating arm system for focused ultrasound treatment of cocaine use disorder. This study addresses the limitations in current treatment approaches, raising the question: to what extent do socioeconomic factors exacerbate the prevalence and perpetuation of cocaine use disorder? Using the CDC’s “Social Determinants of Health” (educational access, social context, neighborhood environment, economic stability, and healthcare access) as a framework, an investigation of the interplay of these factors is explored, as well as how they contribute to both the severity of cocaine addiction and the hindrance of effective treatment. In light of the widespread prevalence of cocaine use and the lack of FDA approved pharmacotherapy, addressing both socioeconomic issues and successful addiction treatment is crucial for the dissolution of this epidemic. This study anticipates a cyclical relationship between the social determinants, whereby disadvantages lead to a higher susceptibility to substance abuse, placing those who suffer in an increasingly limited position, thus perpetuating the cycle. This issue sheds light upon the multifaceted and antagonistic nature of social structure and power dynamics when it comes to addiction narratives and treatment options. Furthermore, this issue emphasizes the need for technological development and further funding dedicated to neuromodulation treatments and focused ultrasound devices. By recognizing the systematic challenges that contribute to cocaine addiction, this research ultimately informs the public of a more holistic intervention that offers a step towards dismantling barriers faced by marginalized communities.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Addiction Treatment, Cocaine, Socioeconomic Factors, Focused Ultrasound, Prototyping

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Timothy Allen

Technical Team Members: Janine Icalla, Mackenzie Zimmerman

Issued Date: