Abstract by Chase Maxfield
Identifying Gateway Prescription Drugs Using Twitter
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the availability of prescription drugs in markets both legal and illegal for use and abuse. Because prescription drug abuse often begins with a legitimate need for the drug to ease pain, it can be considered a gateway drug. In this study, we hope to find evidence of prescription drugs being used as gateway drugs in tweets gathered over the past year and a half. By comparing what users tweet currently to what they tweeted at earlier dates, we can deduce whether or not the user is taking higher-schedule drugs following their initial consumption of prescription medication or other drugs. Knowledge of these progression patterns could help the medical community recognize when someone is likely to be abusing drugs based on the prescriptions they are receiving.