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Global trends of Drug Addiction as reflected in the internet

Barg Jacob

Digital media provides increased opportunities for both health care and social transmission of risky products such as drugs. Psychoactive substances are continuously and increasingly appearing on the international drug market. Global Internet forums are a publicly available reality where users anonymously discuss and share information about drugs of abuse. Regardless of the degree of validity, publicly available content on the Internet is an undeniable reality, which remains the major source of information for public about drug-related issues of concern. The Internet has been identified as a key aspect for facilitating use, providing ready access to supply, and information. Furthermore, Internet searches, for example through Google, are used to access information. These searches provide data streams which can then be analyzed through online services such as Google Trends (GT). GT is a free, open access online portal which allows users to analyze part of 3.5 billion daily Google searches. This internet tool provides data on geographical and temporal patterns in user-specified search terms. Using GT we found a similar curve pattern of the relative annual proportion of drug addiction and opiate queries. Furthermore, there is a high correlation between the query drug addiction and physical abuse or physiological effects, r=0.8886, r=0.8882, correspondingly. This finding lead to the conclusion of the value of this data, or similar data using GT, to complement traditional sources, providing actionable intelligence to policy-makers and law enforcement

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