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Researchers are Turning to Online Drug Forums and the Dark Web to Combat the Opioid Epidemic …

Written by Eric Ulchakere

May 20, 2020

As the nation’s Opioid Crisis continues to manifest, computer scientists are turning to an unlikely source of data; Reddit. This and other online drug forums, such as, provide insight to non-traditional methods of weaning oneself off opioids. The DIY methods discussed on these forums were ‘a clinical and medical blindspot’ to researchers. By bringing these self-administered treatments into the limelight, medical professionals can analyze and modify any benefits observed from these solutions.

To those suffering from Substance Use Disorder (SUD) remaining anonymous is often paramount to getting treatment, as users wish to conceal their addiction from employers, loved ones, etc. In addition, stigma surrounding drug use proves to be another barrier to seeking professional help. Online forums provide an anonymous way for those with SUD to talk with peers in a safe, judgment-free manner.

We aim to remove all barriers to care with the Apportis Opioid Solution (AOS). At the suggestion of Tracy Plouck, former Director of the Ohio Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the AOS has a built-in forum for those to share and discuss shared experiences of battling Substance Use Disorder. This provides a safe, and secure way to interact with peers, without exposing themselves to the Dark Web.

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