SureStep: App to Help People Stay on Track in Drug Court Born at Techstars Startup Weekend in Las Vegas

Daniel Lopez had his own run-in with the drug court system in Nevada in 2014 when he got three DUIs across seven years. He underwent the three-year drug court program in Nevada and has been sober for four years now.

Says Lopez: “Going through the program let me see things through other people’s eyes. People who had it much harder than I did.”

By going through the drug courts, he also identified a number of problems with the program. Specifically, he found that it was not always easy to keep up with the requirements of the drug court program, especially the randomized drug testing that is required twice per week.

Says Lopez: “Currently, you have to call a phone number every day to know if it’s your day to test.”

He says that people who take part in the program are assigned a color, and when they call the number, they will listen to hear if their color will be tested that day. One day back in early 2015, he says, he forgot to call in and ended up missing a court-ordered drug test as a result. He ended up having to serve 48 hours in county jail in order to stay in the program.

To help himself better manage the requirements of the program, Lopez, a programmer, created an app that would assist him by calling the number and then letting him know what color had been chosen to be tested that day.

It was this app and concept that Lopez took with him to the Techstars Startup Weekend in Las Vegas. When he walked out, he had a product called SureStep and a first place prize.

Says Lopez: “I almost didn’t go. I was just going to see what it was, and I thought it would be a fun weekend.”

His hope is that the app will be usable by communities around the world as they implement programs designed to help people who are struggling with addiction to avoid imprisonment and instead engage in treatment that will help them to heal. His goal is to make it usable by counties or treatment programs that would be able to turn on and off different services for their clients to empower them to succeed in keeping up with the requirements of the program.

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Inspiring Yourself to Success

The good news for those who are currently going through recovery – both family members and those in treatment for addiction – is that there are a number of resources available to provide accountability and inspiration in recovery. These include:

  • Motivational apps: There are a number of different apps that will start your day with an inspiring quote, send you a beautiful piece of artwork, or encourage you to create and sustain healthy habits. All of these can remind you what you are working so hard for and keep you going throughout the day.
  • Online journals: If you prefer a pen and pad, that’s great! If not, there is a range of online journal options that give you the opportunity to make notations about your recovery as things happen in the moment on a phone or computer.
  • Books: Self-help books, books on managing depression and anxiety, books about the 12 Steps, memoirs from people who have lived through active addiction and made it through treatment – there are tons of books to read before bed, on a leisurely afternoon, or whenever there is downtime. Plus, you can download a number of recovery books on your phone to keep them on hand whenever you have extra time in line or get stuck waiting for an appointment.
  • Organizational tools: From calendars to note apps and everything in between, you can find a range of resources that can help you to keep your recovery appointments organized. Carrying a planner with you in your bag or keeping the tools on your phone with reminders can help you get where you need to be no matter how busy you get.

Staying on Track and Moving Forward

How do you help yourself to stay focused and doing what you need to do in recovery? What are the tools that work best for you?