Towards detecting cocaine use using smartwatches in the NIDA clinical trials network: Design, rationale, and methodology

August F. Holtyn, Eugene Bosworth, Lisa A. Marsch, Bethany McLeman, Andrea Meier, Elizabeth C. Saunders, Emre Ertin, Md Azim Ullah, Shahin Alan Samiei, Monowar Hossain, Santosh Kumar, Kenzie L. Preston, Massoud Vahabzadeh, Dikla Shmueli-Blumberg, Julia Collins, Jennifer McCormack, Udi E. Ghitza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cocaine use in clinical trials is often measured via self-report, which can be inaccurate, or urine drug screens, which can be intrusive and burdensome. Devices that can automatically detect cocaine use and can be worn conveniently in daily life may provide several benefits. AutoSense is a wearable, physiological-monitoring suite that can detect cocaine use, but it may be limited as a method for monitoring cocaine use because it requires wearing a chestband with electrodes. This paper describes the design, rationale, and methodology of a project that seeks to build upon and extend previous work in the development of methods to detect cocaine use via wearable, unobtrusive mobile sensor technologies. To this end, a wrist-worn sensor suite (i.e., MotionSense HRV) will be developed and evaluated. Participants who use cocaine (N = 25) will be asked to wear MotionSense HRV and AutoSense for two weeks during waking hours. Drug use will be assessed via thrice-weekly urine drug screens and self-reports, and will be used to isolate periods of cocaine use that will be differentiated from other drug use. The present study will provide information on the feasibility and acceptability of using a wrist-worn device to detect cocaine use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100392
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials Communications
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Clinical trials network
  • Cocaine
  • Device development
  • Methods or experimental design
  • Mobile sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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