Discovering alternative treatments for opioid use recovery using social media

Stevie Chancellor, George Nitzburg, Andrea Hu, Francisco Zampieri, Munmun De Choudhury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Opioid use disorder (OUD) poses substantial risks to personal well-being and public health. In online communities, users support those seeking recovery, in part by promoting clinically grounded treatments. However, some communities also promote clinically unverified OUD treatments, such as unregulated and untested drugs. Little research exists on which alternative treatments people use, whether these treatments are effective for recovery, or if they cause negative side effects. We provide the first large-scale social media study of clinically unverified, alternative treatments in OUD recovery on Reddit, partnering with an addiction research scientist. We adopt transfer learning across 63 subreddits to precisely identify posts related to opioid recovery. Then, we quantitatively discover potential alternative treatments and contextualize their effectiveness. Our work benefits health research and practice by identifying undiscovered recovery strategies. We also discuss the impacts to online communities dealing with stigmatized behavior and research ethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: May 4 2019May 9 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period5/4/195/9/19

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Association for Computing Machinery.

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Alternative treatment
  • Online communities
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Recovery
  • Reddit

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