About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Machine Learning can Now Stop the Online Illegal Opioid Trade

by Rishika Gupta on October 26, 2017 at 5:59 PM
Font : A-A+

Machine Learning can Now Stop the Online Illegal Opioid Trade

Machine learning can now put a stop to illegal marketing, and opioid sales over twitter found a new study in American Journal of Public Health journal. The advanced machine learning techniques were used to mine over thousands of tweets to detect the illegal trade.

Between June and November 2015, some 619,937 tweets containing the keywords codeine, Percocet, fentanyl, Vicodin, Oxycontin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone were collected.

Advertisement


The findings detected 1,778 posts that were marketing the sale of controlled substances, 90 percent included hyperlinks to online sites for purchase.

"An unhealthy use of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs continues to rise in the United States. Public policy and law enforcement efforts are trying to address this crisis, but closer attention to the potentially negative influence of digital technologies is needed," said Tim K.Mackey, Ph.D., UC San Diego School of Medicine associate professor of anesthesiology and global public health and first author.
Advertisement

"Our study demonstrates the utility of technology to aid in these efforts that search social media for behavior that poses a public threat, such as the illegal sale of controlled substances."

Study

Mackey and researchers with UC San Diego School of Medicine and Jacobs School of Engineering used a three-step process that involved cloud-based computing to collect large volumes of tweets filtered by keywords, machine learning to isolate tweets related to the marketing of opioids, and web forensic examination to analyze posts that included hyperlinks to external websites.

During the five-month study period, less than 1 percent of tweets mentioning opioids were marketing prescription opioids, and only 46 of the hyperlinks included in those tweets were still live when the team analyzed the data eight months later.

However, if the technology were used for active surveillance, the data could be used to find more live links and thereby could help in the detection of other health-related illegal online activities, said Mackey.

The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act prohibits the sale and marketing of controlled substances directly to consumers online. It was passed in 2008 after 18-year-old Ryan Haight of San Diego died after purchasing Vicodin online.

"This technology could help improve enforcement of the Ryan Haight Act," said Mackey. "Also, social media providers can use it to find or prohibit content that is illegal or violates laws to ensure consumers have a safer experience online."

Forensics researchers connected marketing on Twitter to blogs, other social media platforms, user forms, online classified ads, and websites. The majority of sites had foreign addresses, with many linked to Pakistan, a country recently identified as a source and exporter of fake, counterfeit and falsified medications, said Mackey.

"The online sale of controlled substances is directly prohibited by federal law. However, social media appears to act as a conduit for increased risk of substance abuse behavior," said Mackey.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cannabis Drug Abuse Drug Detox Painkiller Addiction Prescription Drug Abuse 

Recommended Reading
Machine Learning can Now Identify High Risk Cancerous Breast Lesions
Machine learning can help Identify high risk cancerous breast lesions and thereby reduce the ......
Scientists Enlist Machine Learning to Help Diagnose Depression
University of Texas researchers use Stampede supercomputer to identify patterns in neuroimaging ......
Can Opioid Abuse be Treated?
A new model combines substance abuse treatment with a patient's regular medical care can treat ......
Opioid Epidemic Linked to Childhood Emotional Abuse
Kids who had been emotionally abused were more likely to engage in rash, risky behavior in ......
Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use and comes from a bushy pl...
Drug Abuse
The use of Drugs for reasons other than its prescribed recommendation, is known as Drug abuse or sub...
Drug Detox
Drug detoxification (or drug detox) is a process that helps drug addicts to give up drugs with less ...
Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction is the use of prescription painkillers in a way not meant by the prescribing do...
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is consuming prescription medications in a way different from that as prescr...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use