Crime in our country is at an all-time high, studies show that drugs form part of the main causes of violent crime. The illicit use of drugs in our country is a growing problem as like any industry or business, it is profit driven and the target being mostly young people. Access and availability to drugs is not an issue for the users which creates an even bigger problem. It is no doubt that the effects of such an addiction is mostly felt or suffered by the people closest to the person on the drugs.
Chris Porter an entrepreneur who started working at the age of 6, selling fruits and vegetables for a disabled man and started his first business at the age of 18 is the brains behind DrugSign. Chris, a BCom Business Management degree graduate from the University of Pretoria saw a need to come up with this app to address the issue of the use of drugs in our country. DrugSign is a mobile application that helps identify drug users based on their signs and symptoms. How it works is that it helps you detect whether or not a person is taking drugs and helps you narrow down precisely which drug/s they are on. Drugs such as Crystal Meth and Cocaine are commonly used and they have different symptoms and cause different reactions and DrugSign assists in pin pointing which drug is being used. The beauty of this app is that it is non-intrusive in the sense that you don’t have to physically test someone, so a drug user will not know that you are doing this. The signs and symptoms are based on behavioural patterns, moods, physical changes and physical objects (burnt spoon, needles, cigarettes etc) and this is how the app narrows down the particular drug the person might be on.
Once the drug is located, the app gives you advice on further steps to take i.e counsellors in the area, or support structures that the drug users can be sent to inorder to receive help with their addiction. Another interesting part of the app is a feature where the public can report on crimes taking place, for obvious safety measures the reports are kept anonymous. This forms part of the apps criminalytics which gives users information on crime hotspots and statistics.
Chris was a finalist at this year’s SAB Social Innovation Awards, he was one of 18 finalists whose innovations were rated as some of the best in the country by SAB. It is not easy to deal with a loved one, employee, parent, student etc who is on drugs, DrugSign however helps with the process, from locating the drug to rehabilitation and further information about drug use. The app will firstly be available on iOS and then on Android. Chris is incubated at the Innovation Hub as part of the Maxum Business Incubator programme.
It is encouraging to see more young and emerging social entrepreneurs who are solving real problems that are plaguing our society. We salute Chris Porter for addressing this issue that is eating away at our young people. Chris is a true Nunnovator!