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Boyer EW, Lapen PT, Macalino G, Hibberd PL. 
“Dissemination of psychoactive substance information by innovative drug users”. 
Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007 Feb 19;10(1):1-6.
Internet-based drug information may be relayed by innovative drug users, a group of individuals who use the web to learn about a new drug, experiment with that substance, and then disseminate their knowledge and experiences to others. We investigated the mechanisms adopted by innovative drug-using adolescents to distribute Internet drug information and experiences to peers, the size and geographic distribution of the receiving group, and the age at which innovative drug users began to disseminate drug information.

METHODS: Cross-sectional survey of adolescents recruited by a respondent-driven sampling method. Of 18 innovative drug users, 17 reported using instant messaging (IM) to disseminate drug information and experiences to peers. The average age at which respondents adopted IM for this purpose was 16 years. Fifteen of 17 described using a distribution list with as many as 200 individuals who received only drug information. Ten respondents instant messaged drug information to online peers greater than 250 miles distant; nine respondents attached links to online drug resources (including This study has identified that IM plays an important role in the dissemination of Internet-based drug information by individual innovative drug users into larger social networks. Pediatricians should consider assessing IM use in drug abuse evaluations and recommending that parents of children with drug abuse problems should consider suspending IM services as a means of truncating the delivery of reinforcing drug information.
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