Scientists used AI to hyperlink crypto markets to drug addicts on Reddit and Twitter

An international team of researchers recently developed an AI system that brings together information from dark web crypto markets, Twitter and Reddit to better understand drug addicts.

Don’t worry, it won’t track sales or expose users. It helps scientists better understand how drug addicts feel and what terms they use to describe their experience.

The relationship between mental health and substance abuse has been well studied in clinical settings, but how users discuss and interact with one another in the real world remains outside the scope of most scientific studies.

According to the team’s paper:

Recent Global Drug Survey results suggest that the percentage of respondents who bought drugs through crypto markets has tripled since 2014, reaching 15 percent of 2020 respondents (GDS).

In this study, we evaluate social media data from active opioid users to understand what behaviors are associated with opioid use to determine what types of feelings are expressed. We use deep learning models to carry out sentiment and emotion analyzes of social media data with the active ingredients derived from crypto markets.

The team developed an AI to search three popular crypto markets selling drugs to uncover differentiated information about what people have been looking for and buying.

They then scoured popular drug-related subreddits on Reddit such as r / opiates and r / drugnerds for posts related to crypto market terminology in order to collect emotional feelings. While the researchers struggled to collect enough Reddit posts with easily flagged emotional feelings, they found Twitter posts with relevant hashtags to fill in the gaps.

The end result was a data horn that enabled the team to determine a robust analysis of emotional mood for various substances.

In the future, the team hopes to find a way to gain better access to dark web crypto markets in order to create stronger sentiment models. The ultimate goal of the project is to help health professionals better understand the relationship between mental health and substance abuse.

According to teamwork:

Determining the best strategies to reduce opioid abuse requires a better understanding of crypto-market drug sales that affect consumption and how they reflect discussions on social media.

Published on March 30, 2021 – 21:03 UTC

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