AI Joins Fight Against Opioid Abuse

The Governor's Partnership, tackling the opioid epidemic that has seized CT, sees him joining forces with Purdue Pharma. 

This is going to be a long, hard battle. So much so, AI is now in on the fight, too.  

Using artificially intelligent software developed to analyze tweets and related geographic information, researchers found Twitter to be a particularly reliable data source for pinpointing where the situation is at its worst. With about 500 million tweets daily, such an approach could help alert local health officials so they can gather funding or other resources to tackle the issue.

Drug overdoses (most involving illegal heroin and prescription opioids) killed more than 64,000 people in the U.S. in 2016, up 21 percent from the previous year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Connecticut remains one of the most profoundly affected states in the country. 

The researchers wanted to know whether analyzing tweet text could help them estimate the location and relative prevalence of prescription opioid misuse as accurately as established epidemiologic studies — such as the National Survey on Drug Usage and Health.

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