Can Thermal Detect Signs Of Kids Overdosing On Drugs?

A member asked if thermal cameras could help detect kids overdosing on drugs? The application would be to scan kids at music festivals.

Any ideas?


Thanks John - The theory is that if we can detect kids overheating in the areas in front of stages we can get them medical help before it's too late. Severe overheating is a symptom of overdose for many of the drugs that are being taken at music festivals these days. This is not a law enforcement tool, but a health and safety tool.

GG

I have firsthand knowledge of this application, but for different reasons.

I live in a region with high outdoor summer temperatures, and sports and heatstroke are common.

A local university has assembled a monitoring station that checks body temps of football players as a station in one of the running drills. It is essentially a booth that players must run through to be read.

They experimented with several camera locations, but found the only way of getting meaningful readings was to get very close to the players. It does work, though. Anyone with a high temp gets kicked to a cooling pool immediately.

Perhaps one of the thermal experts has a better answer, but I do not think you'll get the data granularity needed from an overview camera. I think it needs to be close to the subjects.

I think the only way it would work is if you had a close up thermal imager. Even then I think you would need a before and after picture to make a conclusion. The problem with Ectassy and Music is that people like to dance. This will throw off many of the existing thermal cameras on the market in my opinion.

Update - Like Brian said, you would probably have to go into a booth for a closeup scan. If you had to do that, you might as well just take their temperature.

Creat an iPhone app that takes their temperature and monitors it at these fests. Kind of humerous, but these things are becoming reality fast.

Another issue is what is the baseline? Everyone at a festival will be already warmer and excited just from the music alone. The body produces heat just by being excited.

The Discovery channel did a story on how much heat our body's produce from certian types of excitment. (sexual, visual, sound)

They got it already for drunks...

Great thread John...opens up new possibilities for the proliferation of the low cost uncooled microbolometer with thermography software.

"Severe overheating is a symptom of overdose for many of the drugs that are being taken at music festivals these days."

I'm not sure this is accurate. Severe overheating is a symptom of continuous activity (dancing;raving) without adequate cooling - not overdosing. And I've only heard this phenomenon associated with 'X' - never any other recreational use drug.

This link from DEA.org states: MDMA produces little or no hyperthermic response in humans at all doses tested (up to 2.0 mg/kg) under laboratory conditions (no change [26] or increases of less than half a degree C [27] were typical.)

Can you share some of the other 'many' drugs where severe overheating is a result of consuming them (while raving or not)?

Like many of the previous posters, I don't see a practical use of thermal cameras to combat this long-known issue. Deaths from MDMA-related use peaked in 2002 - primarily due to information campaigns and education programs targeted at the primary consumers (ravers).

I'm not sure this is accurate. Severe overheating is a symptom of continuous activity (dancing;raving) without adequate cooling - not overdosing...

Perhaps being a little a hard on Greg, since reading down a bit in your link there is this:

The most common causes of death and injury are complications of malignant hyperthermia, usually in association with 'raves' (which often involve all-night marathon dancing) and dancing at conventional clubs. Potential overexertion/hyperthermia-related events include disseminated intravascular coagulation, rhabdomyolysis, hepatoxicity, and renal failure[43]. These risks can be greatly increased by mixing drugs, particularly other stimulants.

And I know that you would not likely argue for an infinte series of proximate causes, i.e., "actually the cancer didn't kill him, it was the fact that his heart stopped beating, that's what really got him in the end".

But even if you did try to argue that the overheating was caused by inadequate cooling alone, since this tool has no prosecutorial intent, how they got to that state doesn't matter, they are in mortal danger and might be helped therefore...

Can you share some of the other 'many' drugs where severe overheating is a result of consuming them (while raving or not)?

Does drinking count? I'm not sure what you thought of the viability of my earlier link for identifying drunks using thermography but its certainly being used already with some supposed success. However to be sure, this is technically not identifying overheating per se, but rather detecting skin dilation temperature effects and abnormalities. So besides drinking, if there are any other substances that cause pupil dilation that anyone can think of....They might therefore also induce a general vascular dilation of sufficient strength to be seen thermographically, raving or not...

But to be sure its not entirely clear to me whether a) you think endangered ravers cannot be identified practically by this technology, or b) since its of benefit to a small set of people (ravers) its not worth pursuing, or both?

a) I think endangered ravers cannot be identified practically by this technology

...which should be entirely clear as I stated exactly that in the beginning of my last paragraph above.

"And I know that you would not likely argue for an infinte series of proximate causes, i.e., "actually the cancer didn't kill him, it was the fact that his heart stopped beating, that's what really got him in the end""

Inaccurate comparison. As Jeremiah astutely points out above: "The problem with Ectassy and Music is that people like to dance." The combination of these two things is what can lead to hyperthermia.

It is the continuous dancing which elevates the core temperature, and MDMA which acts to restrict the bodies natural ability to regulate temperature - and further, alters their mental state to such a degree that they may not notice this potentially fatal combination.

"Thermal homeostasis involves a balance between heat production and heat dissipation, and MDMA affects both aspects of this homeostatic equation."

Heavy sweating is common once the body temperature begins to elevate. As long as ravers continue to hydrate regularly (and not in large amounts at once which can lead to hyponatremia or water poisoning), the risk of hyperthermia is minimized. Humans approaching danger zones for malignant hyperthermia (heat stroke) have one symptom that should be visibly noticable: they aren't sweating anymore.

Don't need thermography to see that.

a) I think endangered ravers cannot be identified practically by this technology

Showing excellent form as always Marty, thanks for the direct answer!

And since we are all to some degree speculating on what's possible, no one more than myself, I accept your conclusion as a valid and reasonable one, although I lack your degree of conviction at this time.

So with the main motion disposed of, I was wondering, at the risk of elevating core temperatures all around, if I might disabuse you of a well-known logical fallacy, that is the spurious and specious assignment of proximate cause of an event, often unwittingly, but always in support of the assigner's overall position.

Since you objected to my example, let's use yours. Hopefully you can agree that the Jeremiahic basis of your objection is nothing but a dangerous luge run on the of the slippery slope of causality:(No aspersions should be cast on Jeremiah or his sledding ability)

"The problem with Ectassy and Music is that people like to dance." The combination of these two things is what can lead to hyperthermia.

The problem is of course that Jeremiah actually enumerated three items, two of which are apparently the cause of hyperthermia. But which ones?! Was it the Dancing and the X or the Music (that inevitably led to the Dancing) and the X? People don't dance without music right? Notice this is not merely a construction error that can be just reworded, because the objection still stands regardless and therefore an infinite regression of similar 'causes' can be mechanically generated, e.g.,"It's not the music that's the problem, its the musicians"

But in your own link, which is not mind you a manual on dance or music but rather one enumerating the risks of MDMA, only notes correlation with raves, not causation.

The most common causes of death and injury are complications of malignant hyperthermia, usually in association with 'raves' (which often involve all-night marathon dancing) and dancing at conventional clubs

But back to the more important point, I, like you are skeptical of the overall efficacy of such a solution, and are happy to leave it at that... :)

well, to further prove out Jeremiah's statement above, we have these words of wisdom from Debbie Deb circa 1983: "When I Hear Music... It Makes Me Dance! :)

Ok, I concede, there's just no arguing with that 'body' of evidence... ;) And Jeremiah himself can tell you I'm no Debbie Doubter...

Trust me on this one... I am involved in a lot of music festivals. We have lots of kids making their way to medical with symptoms of OD. The ones that are transported to hospital are typically severly over-heated. All that I have to go on is my on-the-ground experience at these shows.

If you think that there has been a decrease of the use of MDMA or any of the other multitude of synthetic drugs that are confiscated daily at these events, you are misinformed. These are not just 'ravers' coming to these events... this has gone main stream and when the 'non ravers' want to have the 'whole' experience at an EDM show, a lot of them will try something for the first time and have horrible reactions.

I have a practicle application... just don't know if there is a tool for this job.

Greg,

I will not pretend to have your boots on the ground experience in these matters, and I am not questioning that lots of kids make their way to medical after having adverse reactions to whatever it is they took (apparently unscrupulous drug dealers sell lots of other things [methamphetimines, ketamine, PMA, etc] and call it MDMA).

"If you think that there has been a decrease of the use of MDMA or any of the other multitude of synthetic drugs that are confiscated daily at these events, you are misinformed."

I mentioned that deaths from MDMA-related use peaked in 2002 - not that there has been a decrease in usage.

"when the 'non ravers' want to have the 'whole' experience at an EDM show, a lot of them will try something for the first time and have horrible reactions."

I absolutely believe this... and I would surmise (with no real evidence) that these are the majority of the kids making their way to medical. There are many stories of people who've eaten pot brownies without knowing they weren't 'normal' brownies showing up in emergency rooms... unexpected physiological reactions can scare the crap out of anyone.

The kids who are actually taken to the ER are the ones that are in danger of hyperthermia due to overheating - which regular hydration (and rest periods) can prevent.

I commend you for seeking out unique ways to combat this health issue.... I just don't think thermography is the answer.

This is far feteched. Everyone wears a BLE thermal patch on them that transmits the body tempature of them every 5-15 mins? or give them high tech wrist bands that do the same via RFID or WiFi. Then you would know no matter where they are on the grounds.

Anyone else have any direct experience using thermal to monitor / detect health issues with people? Let's focus back on that.

Thanks John... I enjoy the input but are there any Thermal experts on the site?

Greg, FLIR responded partially, noting, "We have a rich history of using our thermal camera for fever detection in travelers at checkpoints."

They are checking internally to see specifically about the logistical issues / fit for a concert.

There is a rich history of FLIR thermal cameras being used to assess and measure human face temperatures in order to detect fevers associated with SARS and other illnesses. Ports of entry are the typical locations, and many of our readers who have travelled throughout Asia might be familiar with FLIR or other thermal cameras installed in the immigration halls at various airports. Travelers typically pass through a test station one at a time, pausing in front of a camera just long enough to have their temperature measured by a non-contact radiometric thermal camera. This application is well established and at least one paper indicates a high level of accuracy as judged by the results of secondary screening. Additional work in the veterinary medicine has demonstrated the ability to detect fevers in a wide range of animals.

The concert or music festival environment described by the poster is much less controlled than the immigration line. However, our collective experience says that thermal imaging will still be viable even in a crowded scene as long the camera can view the subjects with enough resolution to accurately image the face and perhaps other exposed skin. It is easy to imagine a camera positioned to view the faces of the crowd at the front of the stage and being able to identify those that have higher skin temperatures. Color palettes or isotherms with temperature ranges of interest would greatly ease the assessment process. I am not qualified to speak about the physiological processes and symptoms of overheating, but let me add that not only can you visualize relative differences in subject temperatures, you can also detect the presence or lack or perspiration. I mention this because it is my understanding that those suffering from heat stroke stop perspiring.

Sounds like a great application that should be pursued.

"Our collective experience says that thermal imaging will still be viable even in a crowded scene as long the camera can view the subjects with enough resolution to accurately image the face and perhaps other exposed skin."

Dwight, thanks for the feedback from FLIR.

Any idea of how much is enough resolution? How tight should the FoV be? What resolution sensor should be used?