In developing countries, people with substance-abuse issues can sometimes face shame and find it difficult to get help.
Now, a research team is using machine learning and anonymized data to get a clearer picture of the underlying factors that influence tendencies to abuse drugs and alcohol.
The research provides a rare insight into a somewhat neglected subject because of social and cultural taboos. The research team hopes their work can eventually make it easier for people to get help.
Some of the most significant risk factors identified through the research include family relationships, a general curiosity about experimenting with drugs, and whether friends also abuse substances.
“In a country like Bangladesh, people can be hesitant to discuss substance abuse issues,” said Enamul Haque, a PhD researcher in computer science at the University of Waterloo. “This kind of research will enable policy-makers to have better information and then be able to design better programs to help address substance abuse.”
Read the full article on Waterloo News.