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Novel AI tool may help tackle substance abuse in youth

The team tackled this problem from an AI perspective, creating an algorithm that takes into account both how the individuals in a subgroup are connected and their prior history of substance abuse

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Societal pressure and lack of support often forces young adults to indulge in impulsive self-harm mechanisms like drug overdose and self cutting. Pixabay
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  • New AI tool may help tackle substance abuse in youth
  • The AI uses a new type of algorithm
  • Group therapy is one way of curing the abuse

Researchers have developed a novel algorithm-based on artificial intelligence (AI) that leverages social networks to optimise substance abuse intervention groups for the homeless youth.

The algorithm categorises participants, who voluntarily work on recovery, into smaller groups, or subgroups, in a way that maintains helpful social connections and breaks social connections that could be detrimental to recovery and inadvertently expose them to negative behaviours.

Drugs, Rehabilitation centre
This new Ai can help teens suffering from substance abuse. Pixabay

“We know that substance abuse is highly affected by social influence; in other words, who you are friends with,” said Aida Rahmattalabi, a post-doctoral student at the University of Southern California in the US.

“In order to improve the effectiveness of interventions, you need to know how people will influence each other in a group,” Rahmattalabi added. While group therapy can offer support to homeless youth, if not structured properly, they can also lead to friendships based on anti-social behaviour.

Also Read: Women-Centric Drug Rehabilitation Centers in Hyderabad is Saving Young Girls from Recreational Drugs like LSD

The team tackled this problem from an AI perspective, creating an algorithm that takes into account both how the individuals in a subgroup are connected — their social ties — and their prior history of substance abuse.

Drug overdose
Group theray can save many lives. Pixabay

Survey data gathered voluntarily from homeless youth, as well as behavioural theories and observations of previous interventions, were used to build a computational model of the interventions.

“Based on this we have an influence model that explains how likely it is for an individual to adopt negative behaviours or change negative behaviours based on their participation in the group,” Rahmattalabi noted. “This helps us predict what happens when we group people into smaller groups,” she said. IANS

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Teens Drinking Regularly face Worse Alcohol Problems Than Adults

Discouraging or delaying alcohol use in adolescence is likely to have substantial benefits in adulthood in terms of preventing harmful drinking behaviours which adversely affect health and well-being

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Alcohol Addiction
The researchers looked at the drinking patterns of 9,000 adolescents in Australia and New Zealand. Pixabay

Teens aged under 17 who drink alcohol weekly are three times more likely to binge drink and be dependent on alcohol as adults compared with their peers who don’t drink, an Australian-led research said on Wednesday.

“The study further debunks the myth that teen experimentation with alcohol promotes responsible drinking, instead it sets a young person up for later-life drinking problem,” Xinhua news agency quoted Professor George Patton from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute as saying.

Alcohol
Teens consuming alcohol at a party. Pixabay

The researchers looked at the drinking patterns of 9,000 adolescents in Australia and New Zealand.

The findings suggest that delaying drinking alcohol would have “significant public health benefits” as well as showing that public health messages “need to focus as much on frequency of drinking as the amount consumed”, said lead author Edmund Silins.

Also Read: What Causes Alcohol Addiction?

“Discouraging or delaying alcohol use in adolescence is likely to have substantial benefits in adulthood in terms of preventing harmful drinking behaviours which adversely affect health and well-being,” he added. (IANS)

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