In a study published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Addictive Diseases, CBAM’s Director of Innovation, Sean Young, PhD and Executive Director Steven Shoptaw, PhD explored the intersections between social networking, stimulant use, and sexual risk behavior among African American and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr. Young gathered data from interested participants using a “Facebook Connect” application in order to assess connections between many factors, including social media and drug use. The study found that among the surveyed population, using social networking technologies to find sexual partners was associated with reports of increased methamphetamine use in the past year. Additionally, the anonymity of communicating via social networking sites such as Facebook appear to correlate with higher drug-use and risk-taking overall.

The study is the first of its kind in existing literature that examines the relationship between social media and stimulant use rather than exploring correlates between internet use and risky sexual behavior. With the findings from this study, we hope to use social media as a tool for HIV and substance-use outreach, prevention, and intervention among at-risk populations.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Mental Health grant  K01MH090884. For the full text of this article, click here.

Young, S.D., Shoptaw, S. Stimulant use among African American and Latino MSM social networking users. Journal of Addiction Disorders. 2013 Jan; 32(1): 39-45. PMCID: PMC in progress.


CBAM is a multidisciplinary center that seeks to advance the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses, especially in communities with health disparities. As part of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine, CBAM works at the intersection of academia and community with a focus on treating addictions and preventing the spread of HIV.

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