Combating America’s Opioid Epidemic
How Data & Online Behavior Can Help
Two hundred Americans die each day from opioid dependency. Thousands more children, spouses, and parents have their lives torn apart by this epidemic that has swept across America. There is no silver bullet to solving the opioid crisis, but we believe digital marketing and behavioral data tools can be brought to bear to divert people from a path toward dependency. These same tools can also ensure a better distribution of resources to combat overdoses and identify prescription problem areas.
Specifically, we can use tools and tactics we have developed through our previous online campaigns to:
1. identify online behavior patterns of individuals entering dependency at the point when they are most open to treatment and when we can directly engage with them,
2. predict areas of the country at the greatest risk of experiencing potential spikes in overdoses, and
3. flag specific neighborhoods and prescription drug types responsible for these spikes, to assist law enforcement and health authorities in identifying unscrupulous opioid prescribers.
Most in the digital marketing industry see ads and online data as a way to get people to do or buy what they want, but we look at it differently — instead, we have always approached digital advertising and personalized data as a means of understanding our audiences and shaping our offerings to meet their needs, leading to better outcomes.
For opioids, we began by mapping Medicaid opioid prescriptions and CDC death rates by zip code, then ran correlation analyses against online behavior. We saw some remarkably clear patterns emerge that allowed us to further refine our modeling to identify people entering dependency, determine some of the likely regional contributing factors, and predict where overdoses are likely to spike. Most significantly, we have identified digital tactics to provide direct
intervention at both the individual and systemic level.