Pitt Researchers Turn to Social Media in Fight Against Opioid Abuse

By: Colleen Zewe

Social media could revolutionize how to care for those struggling with addiction.

Dr. Zan Dodson, researcher from the University of Pittsburgh Public Health Dynamics Laboratory, discusses how his team is looking at how social media can be used to identify geographical clusters of opioid and heroin abuse and overdose. The data they’re compiling will help create a map of opioid-use clusters, which will be shared with Pittsburgh officials to provide better care in those areas in an effort to prevent overdose-related deaths.

Western Pennsylvania is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, prompting the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health to create a pilot grant project that funds several studies exploring different aspects of the problem.

This post is part of a blog series entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences highlighting the doctors, researchers and nurses making significant efforts to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription opioids. For more information about the series or resources to help with drug addiction, click here.