Summary: The Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation is offering up to $150,000 in grants for pediatric medical devices to improve the monitoring, diagnosis, or treatment of substance use disorder in youth, addressing the high rates of drug use and overdose deaths among adolescents.

Key Takeaways:

  • Grant Opportunity: APDI, funded by the FDA, offers up to $50,000 grants (totaling $150,000) for devices to address youth substance use disorder. Apply by July 30.
  • Need for Youth-Specific Technologies: With high rates of drug use and overdose deaths among adolescents, there’s a critical need for medical devices designed specifically for youth.
  • Focus on Pediatric Innovations: APDI seeks innovations like AI algorithms, digital therapeutics, and wearables for youth substance misuse, aiming to bring effective pediatric devices to market.


The Alliance for Pediatric Device Innovation (APDI), led by Children’s National Hospital and funded by the FDA, announced a grant opportunity for pediatric medical devices aimed at improving the monitoring, diagnosis, or treatment of substance use disorder and addiction in youth. Grants of up to $50,000 each are available, with a total of $150,000 in funding for this program.

Sobering Substance Use Statistics

In 2022, over 3.6 million U.S. youth aged 12 to 17 used illicit drugs, with 22 youth aged 12 to 18 dying from overdoses weekly. Many of these adolescents showed no prior warning signs of substance abuse. Only 1 in 10 had a history of treatment for substance use problems, and only 1 in 7 had experienced a prior nonfatal overdose.

“Drug overdose is now the third leading cause of death among adolescents. We need medical technologies specifically designed for youth,” says Kolaleh Eskandanian, PhD, MBA, vice president and chief innovation officer at Children’s National, and APDI principal investigator and program director. “Teens and tweens are enthusiastic users of technology. We believe new health technology solutions can save lives and improve their health.”

APDI’s call for proposals aligns with the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse’s (NACDA) concept, “Promoting Medical Device Development for Youth Affected by Drug Addiction and Substance Misuse.” APDI provides early support by identifying potential innovations and offering support services throughout the medical device product lifecycle, including access to NIDA technical assistance.

Inside the Grants

The grant seeks pediatric-focused innovations, including:

  • AI-based algorithms for diagnosing or treating drug misuse and addiction in youth.
  • Digital therapeutics for behavioral health interventions.
  • Wearables for detecting and treating opioid-induced respiratory depression.
  • Therapeutic devices, like neuromodulation, to improve SUD treatment outcomes and prevent recurrence.

Adult Algorithms Fail for Young Users

Most medical devices are designed for adults, limiting their usability and acceptance by adolescents. Existing algorithms are often based on adult data, reducing their effectiveness for young users.

“Our goal is to bring more effective pediatric medical devices to market to address the alarming rate of harm from substance misuse and addiction in young people,” says Eskandanian. “We aim to help create a pipeline of companies that can apply for NIDA follow-on funding.”

Interested innovators can learn more and apply for the APDI funding opportunity at The application deadline is July 30.