Smartphone app helps prevent drunk-dialing, connects students to police

<p>Joshua Anton was inspired to create Drunk Mode after receiving a call from an inebriated girl one morning. The app helps prevent drunk-dialing and features location services to keep students safe and a panic button.<em> </em><em>PHOTO COURTESY OF DRUNK MODE</em></p>

Joshua Anton was inspired to create Drunk Mode after receiving a call from an inebriated girl one morning. The app helps prevent drunk-dialing and features location services to keep students safe and a panic button. PHOTO COURTESY OF DRUNK MODE

Drunk Mode is available for free in Apple's App Store and Google Play

A smartphone app may help keep students safe through location services, drunk-dialing prevention and a panic button, and its company is looking to incorporate Ball State into its network.

Joshua Anton was inspired to start the app Drunk Mode after receiving a call from an inebriated girl at 2 a.m. one morning. T.J. Wilson, a campus representative and team member for Drunk Mode, said the purpose of the app is to prevent this from happening.

“It was just an idea [Anton] had to stop drunk calling, but then he made the app and had 10,000 downloads at first,” Wilson, a 20-year-old University of Colorado Colorado Springs student, said.

The app now has 970,000 users, Wilson said. It includes features such as “Stop Drunk Dialing,” which hides selected contacts when you’re drinking for up to 12 hours, according to their website.  One of the app’s other features is called “Breadcrumbs,” which allows users to track where they went during their nights out.

Ball State placed in the top 100 active spots on Drunk Mode's college list, according to Wilson. He said there are currently 250 students using the app on campus.

The app will have stronger safety features for its update. Wilson said the app will help college students stay safe while at school.

“With our new update, we will have a panic button feature. It’s like back in the day when children carried an ID about them and their emergency contact information in their backpacks,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to accomplish that electronically.”

Users can push the button, which will have a countdown checking if the user actually needs the feature. Once a need is established, an alert will be sent to the user’s emergency contacts, who can assess the situation and help the user. Wilson said from there the police can be contacted and Drunk Mode will provide the user’s last known location.

Wilson said the company is looking to collaborate with Ball State's University Police Department to link up the app to contact them when a student presses the panic button. Police and the user's emergency contact list will receive the user's location when the button is pressed.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries. More than 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Freshman Jacob Davis, a theatrical studies major, said he hadn’t heard of the app but was interested after learning about its features.

"The walking feature would be so helpful to figure out where you had been the night before,” Davis said. “I definitely need the blocked contacts so that I don't text my exes as much."

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