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2019 NIMBioS-NSA REU Program

Modeling networking and the opioid epidemic

Mentors:
Dr. Christopher Strickland, Mathematics, Univ. of Tennessee
Dr. Suzanne Lenhart, NIMBioS Assoc. Director for Education & Outreach; Mathematics, Univ. of Tennessee

Participants: Vincent Jodoin (Mathematics-Education, Univ. of Tennessee); Sheridan Payne (Mathematics, Bellarmine Univ.); Meagan Todd (Systems Biology, Virginia Tech)

Opiod photo. Project Description. Opioid addiction has become a national health crisis in recent years, with the number of opioid overdose fatalities increasing. This project will begin by discussing structural properties of social networks in the context of opioid drug addiction and recovery, including mathematical metrics for the network and the epidemic as a whole. Examples include the role of support groups and formation of new contacts for illicit procurement of opioids. An overarching goal will be to better understand how addiction epidemics affect the social structure of a community and how network models might help us identify strategies for control. We will start by building an agent-based model to gain intuition and later adapt our approach as appropriate.

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NIMBioS is supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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