Opioid Surveillance using Social Media: How URLs are shared among Reddit members


Nearly 100 people per day die from opioid overdose in the United States. Further, prescription opioid abuse is assumed to be responsible for a 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. However, with increasing use of social media comes increasing opportunity to seek and share information. For instance, 80% of Internet users obtain health information online, including popular social interaction sites like Reddit (http://www.reddit.com), which had more than 82.5 billion page views in 20153. In Reddit, members often share information, and include URLs to supplement the information. Understanding the frequency of URL sharing and types of shared URLs can improve our knowledge of information seeking/sharing behaviors as well as domains of shared information on social media. Such knowledge has the potential to provide opportunities to improve public health surveillance practice. We use Reddit to track opioid related discussions and then investigate types of shared URLs among Reddit members in those discussions.


We aim to understand (1) the frequency of URL sharing and (2) types of shared URLs among opioid related discussions that take place in the social media platform called Reddit.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2018

January 21, 2018

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