Accepted Papers

Investigate Transitions into Drug Addiction through Text Mining of Reddit Data

John Lu, Sumati Sridhar, Ritika Pandey, Mohammad Hasan and George Mohler


Increasing rates of opioid drug abuse and heightened prevalence of online support communities underscore the necessity of employing data mining techniques to better understand drug addiction using these rapidly developing online resources. In this work, we obtained data from Reddit, an online collection of forums, to gather insight into drug use/misuse using text snippets from users narratives. Specifically, using users’ posts, we trained a binary classifier which predicts a user’s transitions from casual drug discussion forums to drug recovery forums. We also proposed a Cox regression model that outputs likelihoods of such transitions. In doing so, we found that utterances of select drugs and certain linguistic features contained in one’s posts can help predict these transitions. Using unfiltered drug-related posts, our research delineates drugs that are associated with higher rates of transitions from recreational drug discussion to support/recovery discussion, offers insight into modern drug culture, and provides tools with potential applications in combating the opioid crisis.

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