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Assessing the Validity of Online Drug Forums as a Source for Estimating Demographic and Temporal Trends in Drug Use

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Addiction Medicine, September 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (76th percentile)
  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (61st percentile)

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10 X users
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3 Facebook pages

Citations

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23 Dimensions

Readers on

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63 Mendeley
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Title
Assessing the Validity of Online Drug Forums as a Source for Estimating Demographic and Temporal Trends in Drug Use
Published in
Journal of Addiction Medicine, September 2016
DOI 10.1097/adm.0000000000000238
Pubmed ID
Authors

Michael J. Paul, Margaret S. Chisolm, Matthew W. Johnson, Ryan G. Vandrey, Mark Dredze

Abstract

Addiction researchers have begun monitoring online forums to uncover self-reported details about use and effects of emerging drugs. The use of such online data sources has not been validated against data from large epidemiological surveys. This study aimed to characterize and compare the demographic and temporal trends associated with drug use as reported in online forums and in a large epidemiological survey. Data were collected from the Web site, drugs-forum.com, from January 2007 through August 2012 (143,416 messages posted by 8087 members) and from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2007 to 2012. Measures of forum participation levels were compared with and validated against 2 measures from the NSDUH survey data: percentage of people using the drug in past 30 days and percentage using the drug more than 100 times in the past year. For established drugs (eg, cannabis), significant correlations were found across demographic groups between drugs-forum.com and the NSDUH survey data, whereas weaker, nonsignificant correlations were found with temporal trends. Emerging drugs (eg, Salvia divinorum) were strongly associated with male users in the forum, in agreement with survey-derived data, and had temporal patterns that increased in synchrony with poison control reports. These results offer the first assessment of online drug forums as a valid source for estimating demographic and temporal trends in drug use. The analyses suggest that online forums are a reliable source for estimation of demographic associations and early identification of emerging drugs, but a less reliable source for measurement of long-term temporal trends.

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X Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 10 X users who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.
Mendeley readers

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 63 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 63 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 13 21%
Student > Master 9 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 6 10%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 6%
Student > Postgraduate 4 6%
Other 11 17%
Unknown 16 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 14 22%
Computer Science 7 11%
Social Sciences 5 8%
Psychology 4 6%
Nursing and Health Professions 3 5%
Other 9 14%
Unknown 21 33%
Attention Score in Context

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 7. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 17 September 2017.
All research outputs
#4,641,260
of 22,714,025 outputs
Outputs from Journal of Addiction Medicine
#508
of 1,250 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#79,710
of 337,020 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of Addiction Medicine
#5
of 13 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 22,714,025 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 79th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,250 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 17.6. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 59% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 337,020 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 13 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 61% of its contemporaries.