The University of Maryland Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) and the National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) Coordinating Center are working together to uncover street terms for drugs as they appear on social media, which has implications for understanding drug trends and supporting timely public health initiatives.
CASL's team has been examining big data batches of tweets from Twitter using sets of drug terms provided by the Coordinating Center staff. The process being used adapts methodologies proven in other fields for collecting and sorting tweets and extracting relevant information on substance use and misuse. Additional social media platforms, such as Reddit, are also being scanned.
The first article about CASL’s collaborative work with NDEWS, “Detecting Novel and Emerging Drug Terms Using Natural Language Processing: A Social Media Corpus Study” was published in January 2018. This article and media coverage are linked below.