Timely Publication on Opioid Dependency Makes a Splash on Twitter

Timely Publication on Opioid Dependency Makes a Splash on Twitter

As the opioid epidemic deepens, the public looks to researchers to help explain and confront the crisis. 

It might not quite have risen to the level of “trending,” but a paper by a Center for Health Research study team recently earned a good deal of attention on Twitter.

The paper, Patient-Reported Pathways to Opioid Use Disorders and Pain-Related Barriers to Treatment Engagement,” was authored by Scott Stumbo, MA; Bobbi Jo Yarborough, PsyD; Carla Green, PhD, MPH; and colleagues from Oregon Health & Science University and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California. Based on 283 qualitative interviews, it was one of several publications that came out of a National Institute on Drug Abuse–funded study on the adoption of buprenorphine as a treatment for opioid-dependent patients.

The paper ran in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in February 2017, but it wasn’t until October that Andrey Ostrovsky, MD, a prominent physician and the former Chief Medical Officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, took public notice of it.

At the time, the media were reporting on President Trump’s declaration of an opioid emergency in the U.S.—a move that drew criticism from observers who noted, among other issues, that the declaration was not accompanied by the promise of new resources to fight the epidemic.

On October 22, Dr. Ostrovsky took to Twitter:

This was followed by a number of additional tweets that heaped praise upon the publication and laid out the five pathways to initiation of opioid use and opioid dependency as outlined by the authors:

Tweets upon Tweets

The paper’s moment on Twitter might have ended there, but many of Dr. Ostrovsky’s 9,000+ followers kept the conversation going. To date, the article has received 46 tweets and 141 retweets, including the following:

The study team has published several other papers on this subject, as seen below.

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