Insights

Innovative Collaboration to Understand Attitudes Towards Substance Use and Recovery

Drug use is a profound and stigmatized public health crisis in America. Underlying negative perceptions, stereotypes, and discriminatory policies and practices are significant barriers to compassionate care for people who use drugs, people experiencing addiction, and for people identifying as in recovery.

Significant efforts have been directed towards addressing stigma, but few have used a data-driven approach. Understanding stigma in real-time with a large and diverse sample will help to deliver accurate insights and inform policymakers, community-based organizations, and public health entities to implement effective and creative solutions. This new collaboration among RIWI, Elevyst, and Pro-A offers an innovative approach to destigmatize drug use: We aim to hear from diverse public opinions, including from ‘quiet voices’ who do not typically answer surveys of other kinds.


We need better data to amplify and improve the effectiveness of our collective efforts.

In a collaborative process, three organizations are coming together to address the need for better insights into stigma and what we can do as a society to address it.

  • RIWI RIWI is a leading provider of surveys and message tests in any country of the world using a patented and peer-reviewed technology platform that reaches the most diverse set of opinions on stigmatized topics, including the views of people who do not post their opinions online or participate in surveys of any other kind.
  • ElevystElevyst is a comprehensive consulting group specializing in helping organizations further their community and public health initiatives. Elevyst works to promote public health responses to complex problems through training, consulting, and technical assistance for organizations within the fields of harm reduction, public health, policy and advocacy, and healthcare.
  • PRO-AThe Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance was established in 1998 to give a voice and focal point to the statewide recovery community in Pennsylvania with the mission to mobilize, educate and advocate to eliminate the stigma and discrimination toward those affected by alcohol and other substance use conditions; to ensure hope, health and justice for individuals, families and those in recovery.

This project brings together cutting-edge data strategies, experts with lived experience, and decades of knowledge about the use of data to solve problems. We will deploy RIWI technology as part of our data-driven approach to improve anti-stigma efforts both here in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

We are excited to bring together our collective expertise in this groundbreaking project. We will bring data to the table in ways that can accelerate real, positive change in how we address one of our greatest public health challenges.

If you’re an organization that is interested in partnering with us around this project, please email Sean Fogler directly.

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