Life unites us: A novel approach to addressing opioid use disorder stigma

Erika Bonnevie, Övgü Kaynak, Christopher R. Whipple, Weston S. Kensinger, Matthew Stefanko, Courtney McKeon, Gary Mendell, Joe Smyser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a critical health issue in the USA. Pennsylvania has the third highest number of drug overdose deaths per year, with the COVID-19 pandemic worsening these trends. Stigmatising beliefs towards OUD are associated with negative health outcomes, and there is a need for a larger evidence base on OUD stigma reduction strategies. This study reports on the creation and implementation of Life Unites Us, a digital media campaign which uses a collective impact framework to address OUD stigma reduction across Pennsylvania. Method: Life Unites Us consists of various components, including a general public media campaign which uses education and contact-based strategies; engagement with stakeholders and advocates in community-based organisations across the state; and a data sharing website to inform the public of previously unavailable OUD stigma statistics. Each campaign component contributes to the overall collective impact framework. Results: Digital metrics showed 755 followers across the Life Unites Us social media pages, and 2,826 total website users with an average of 565 users per month. The campaign has partnered with 60 community based organisations, 921 individuals receive the monthly email and 11 influencers have posted 23 times and achieved over 13,000 engagements and a reach of 661,000. The campaign hosted 5 webinars with 520 attendees and an overall 64.1% attendance rate. Conclusion: This study fills a gap in the need for evidence-based digital interventions to address OUD-related stigma. The positive process metrics from the first 6 months suggest that this model may be an important addition to research on approaches to reduce OUD stigma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-324
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Life unites us: A novel approach to addressing opioid use disorder stigma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this