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Study probes pro-drug messages on social media

July 3, 2014
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Researchers who examined the content posted by individuals on a popular pro-marijuana Twitter handle (@stillblazingtho) concluded in a newly published study that it is important to monitor the messages being delivered to impressionable young people on social media.

Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study analyzed nearly 2,300 Tweets over the final eight months of 2013 on the handle and found that 82% delivered a positive message about marijuana. Less then 1% appeared to be negative about marijuana, with the rest neutral.

A substantial number of Tweets on the pro-marijuana handle suggested that marijuana helps a user feel good or relax. Some Tweets also mentioned other risky health behaviors such as tobacco or alcohol use.

The handle that was analyzed ranks in the top 10% of Twitter handles followed by young people ages 17 to 19. Researchers also reported that a disproportionate number of African-Americans and Hispanics followed this handle.

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