A press release last week from the National Institutes of Health announced the awarding of some $11 million over 3 years to support research exploring the use of social media to advance the scientific understanding, prevention, and treatment of substance use and addiction. The awards are funded through the Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN), an NIH consortium involving the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The announcement notes the potential of interactive platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as tools to help scientists identify prevailing attitudes and myths and to gain insights into patterns of use, risk factors, and behaviors associated with substance use and misuse. By providing a platform for communicating science-based, health-related messages, social media may also enhance screening, prevention, and treatment of substance use and addiction.
Read the NIH press release, with additional information on the funded projects, here.