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NIH, social media

The NIH recently announced that the agency will award $11 million in funds to explore the use of social media in order to advance the understanding of social media and substance abuse within the scientific community. The Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will be funding the awards. According to the Director of NIDA Dr. Nora D. Volkow “These awards are the result of an active collaboration among the three institutes to develop innovative approaches that advance the science of substance use and addiction. We hope to learn more about how changing technologies affect interpersonal communications and factual knowledge about tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs, including the nonmedical use of prescription drugs.”

Social media interactions can be an important tool and source of information for scientists and researchers. It is possible for researchers to determine the behaviors, patterns of use, and even risk factors involved in substance abuse according to current trends and data on social media. Dr. George Koob, Director of the NIAAA, stated “The ubiquity and widespread use of social media underscores the need to address numerous questions regarding the intersection of social media with substance use and abuse, as well as its potential as a tool for preventing and treating substance abuse problems. With these awards the CRAN collaboration is making an important investment that could impact the diverse health problems associated with the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances.”