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Using anticipatory intelligence to understand perceptions of opioids

The results are in:

  • The opioid crisis has reached a point where we are more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a car crash, according to the National Safety Council.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Millennials are more likely to die from opioid overdoses than other generations.  
  • Young adults who receive opioid prescriptions are at an increased risk for addiction the following year, according to a Stanford University study.  It turns out that their first exposure to opioids is often after a common dental procedure – wisdom tooth extraction. 

The Data

We dug a little deeper to understand what drives people, especially Millennials, to abuse opioids. We used evolve24’s AI-powered platform to analyze over 90,000 discussions about opioids in the digital landscape and found that almost one third of opioid discussions (29,642 documents) mentioned death or overdoses. Over half of those were related to young adults and Millennials (19,186 documents). 

evolve24 tracks 19 emotional drivers, academically proven to be a leading indicator of action.

The Insight

Using algorithms designed to detect the emotions that drive behavior, we found that the most prominent driver for Millennials is “Misunderstood”. Misunderstanding manifests itself in the data a few different ways:

Opioid Dependence: Young adults underestimate the magnitude of risk associated with opioid use and how easy it is to become addicted, whether the drugs are legally or illegally obtained. 

Prescription Mixing: Millennials who abuse opioids also mix them with other drugs and alcohol, putting them at a much greater risk for overdose.

Disposal Methods: Parents keep leftover pain medication in the home without realizing that this is a common access point for their kids.

The Action

Now that we have insight into what drives behavior, we can develop solutions and craft messages that will resonate, empathize and connect with Millennials on a deeper level by helping them better understand the risks around opioid abuse, addiction, overdose, and disposal.

Want to learn more about how evolve24 can help you better understand an industry, audience, or topic? Check out our website or send us an email at