The Coke Challenge… Kind of

It’s a testament to the staying power of the Pepsi Challenge —first introduced in 1975—that random pedestrians aren’t freaked out by bubbly strangers asking them to eat unlabeled food. Instead, the offer evokes a giddiness at being selected for such an important task.

So the people chosen for a recent “Coke Challenge” were understandably intrigued, even excited at the prospect of learning a bit more about their own tastes. Instead, they got a brush with death.

The “coke” in this case was, of course, cocaine—one baggie filled with pure powder, and the other containing cocaine laced with enough fentanyl to kill anyone who snorted it. Cocaine is increasingly being cut with the synthetic opioid to increase its effects, but that is driving overdose deaths. In 2017, the CDC attributed more than 7,500 deaths to cocaine laced with fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

Fentanyl tampering can’t be detected by sight, smell, or taste, so recreational drug users take a risk every time. They’re also in more danger than regular drug users, because they typically have no tolerance to opioids.

Like the real Pepsi Challenge, though, the head-to-head comparison was a marketing tactic, created by DanceSafe, a U.S.-based non-profit that sells fentanyl test strips they say can detect the presence of the drug. The organization’s focus is on safety and education in the electronic dance community and is known for bringing adulterant screeners to raves that can check for unexpected tampering. DanceSafe is neither for or against drug use, so there’s no judgment in the campaign, just a bit of humor, evident in the tagline, “Know before you blow.”

Rather than taking a staunch anti-drug approach, the campaign focuses on reducing potential harm to people who choose to use recreational drugs. The video of the challenge was released in time for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

Why it’s Hot:

Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – you just need to re-frame it (re-spoke it? re-mount it? cars, Idk). Part of what makes this execution so relevant is it takes something everybody knows (the Pepsi Challenge) and turns it on its head. Grounding something foreign (fentanyl) in a cultural known (taste testing) lends credibility and lightheartedness to a topic that can seem daunting.

Culturally, this product also fits into a new attitude surrounding drugs. With the opioid epidemic continuing to grow and fatalities rising, gone are the days of “just say no” and “this is your brain on drugs” (cue cracking eggs) – the priority with products like DanceSafe and Naloxone is trying to reduce overdoses when people use drugs. Question: Will this new mindset surrounding drugs have any halo effect on the medical field as a whole?

Source: AdAge

Combating the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic with Patient Data

Non-identified patient-level data has been critical in developing an understanding of the ways drug abusers interact with the medical system, particularly in understanding patient shopping behavior. For opioids and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stimulants – both subject to abuse – patients are known to obtain prescriptions from multiple prescribers (“doctor shopping”).

Non identified patient-level data can reveal patterns of health behaviors among patients and physicians. Behaviors such as physician prescribing patterns, the doctor or hospital visits made by patients, or use of preventative care and medicines are all visible in such data for analysis. This ability to see patient behavior has been put to good use to combat the drug abuse epidemic by identifying and modeling patterns of prescription filling known as “shopping behavior,” employed by abusers to gain access to prescription drugs inappropriately.

While drug abuse is often associated with illicit substances, the non-medical use of prescription drugs such as painkillers, tranquilizers and stimulants is widespread. Over 52 million people in the United States are estimated to have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime resulting in as many as 1.4 million emergency department visits per year.46,47 The number of prescription medicine abusers over age 12 in 2013 was 6.5 million, with as many as 4.5 million people abusing painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, alone.

Manufacturers have worked to combat this issue through the recent launch of several abuse-deterrent formulations of painkillers, but despite these efforts, this and other classes of drugs remain highly addictive and prone to abuse.49 It remains critical to understand patterns of misuse of prescription drugs, gauge which agents pose a greater risk of abuse, and assess the impact of efforts by various stakeholders – including the Drug Enforcement Administration, pharmacy chains, wholesalers and manufacturers – to combat this major public health issue.

Non-identified patient-level data has been critical in developing an understanding of the ways drug abusers interact with the medical system, particularly in understanding patient shopping behavior. For opioids and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) stimulants – both subject to abuse – patients are known to obtain prescriptions from multiple prescribers (“doctor shopping”).

Good behavioral models of this phenomenon – intended to define shopping behavior while avoiding the inappropriate flagging of individuals with legitimate use – have been created using non-identified patient data by comparing patient use of drugs prone to abuse with patterns of drugs not typically abused. For instance, one study compared patient use of ADHD drugs to that of asthma drugs, and an earlier study for opioids similarly compared the use of opioids to diuretics (non-abused) using longitudinal patient data.

In both studies, researchers found that being a patient with overlapping prescriptions written by two or more prescribers and filled at three or more pharmacies was the best predictor of abuse. In the ADHD study this pattern was 400% more frequent among those shopping for ADHD drugs than those prescribed asthma medications. Applying this definition, this study was also able to show that shopping was most common in younger subjects aged 10–39 years, and that a small number of abusers accounted for most shopping behavior. Among patients who shopped, 9.2 % of them shopped six or more times and accounted for 42.0 % of all shopping.

Connected healthcare also fundamentally needs a connected understanding of the patient. To ensure that the entire healthcare system delivers integrated care for the benefit of an individual and larger populations, action based on shared information that tells a complete and accurate story, is needed. Only with a shared understanding of patient experience and what benefits patients across the medical system can healthcare stakeholders deliver connected healthcare.

“To accomplish the goal of optimizing the system and care, nationally merged datasets are strongly needed, since if you are only seeing only one part of a patient’s experience (some part of time) then you cannot optimize.” David M. Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University

Why It’s HOT: Patients are turning to social media as an integral forum to find and share information relevant to their health. The use case above for non-identified patient data shows additional value in active social listening at a brand and category level; said best by Murray Aiken “This trend only heightens the need for relevant, accurate content that can be accessed and used throughout the patient journey. Healthcare professionals, regulators and pharmaceutical manufacturers all need to overcome their reticence and acknowledge the vital role that they can and should play as participants in the healthcare conversation.”


Source: Closing the Healthcare Gap – The Critical Role of Non-Identified Information