Detailed Maps of Addict Behavior Leads to New Treatments

by Matt Ball on November 21, 2011

Over the weekend, NPR highlighted the work of researchers in Baltimore that are following addicts and their behavior very closely to track movement as well as the behaviors that coincide with their drug use. Researchers in the methadone program that serves addicts are studying specifically what makes addicts relapse with a smartphone program that requires feedback on location and behavior, as well as a GPS logger.

Knowing where addicts are when they use is combined with details from the Drug Investigations, Violence and Environmental Studies lab at Johns Hopkins University. This research team has scanned neighborhoods for details on violence, abandoned buildings, open drug use on the streets and other details to classify neighborhoods and blocks.

The detailed map data with the individual behavior information, combined with the detailed neighborhood map, provides whole new levels of clinical insight. This close real-time monitoring, and environmental triggers, could lead to new treatments.

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