Analysis of Deviant Opioid Addiction Treatment Communities on Reddit
Zampieri, Francisco Alejandro
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As the opioid epidemic in the US continues, many addicts turn to clinically unverified, non-mainstream, deviant recovery methods to ameliorate the symptoms of withdrawal. In this study, we analyze discussion on the social media site Reddit surrounding these treatments. We apply transfer learning methods to train a classifier highly sensitive to recovery-related posts. Based on network analysis of Reddit communities (known as “subreddits”), we generate a list of subreddits where discussion of deviant addiction treatment methods is taking place. Using word embeddings and the testimony of a practicing opioid addiction clinician, we identify potential alternative opioid addiction treatment methods. Applying the classifier to subreddit post data, we generate a dataset consisting of recovery-related discourse. When applied to these posts, topic modeling methods, such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), reveal topics discussed within the context of recovery, such as the lifestyle changes associated with kratom use.