Andy Blenkle is a marketing executive with extensive advertising experience supporting non-profits and federal organizations. At FMG, Andy serves as Vice President, focused on supporting client marketing campaigns and business development and partnership efforts. In his executive-level experience, Andy has served as President of iostudio, a Nashville-based digital marketing firm, and ...
Fors Marsh Group Announces Pledge to Conduct First Comprehensive Multiyear Public Opinion Survey on Attitudes about Substance Use Disorder
Fors Marsh Group CEO Announces Pledge to Conduct First Comprehensive Multiyear Public Opinion Survey on Attitudes about Substance Use Disorder at Conference, Joining Former President Bill Clinton as one of the Keynote Speakers; Shares Results of Initial National Polling Sample
ARLINGTON, VA, September 27, 2021 —Today, the CEO of Fors Marsh Group (FMG), a research-first, behavior-change firm and Certified B Corporation, announced a multiyear pledge to measure national public opinion on aspects of substance use disorder (SUD) stigma, and the role companies should play in supporting employees in recovery from SUD. The survey, which FMG will conduct annually for the next 5 years, will specifically assess stigma associated with SUD, attitudes related to recovery, the need for employer-based recovery services, and consumer affinity to brands based on knowledge of supportive workplace SUD policies. The annual survey will be part of a greater corporate engagement effort led by FMG to combat the stigma surrounding SUD, increase awareness of what it means to be in recovery and drive adoption of corporate recovery workforce programs nationwide. The effort comes at a time when approximately 9% of all employed adults are facing alcohol or substance use disorders and a relatively equal number of workers are in recovery, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“Being a B Corp means we believe that businesses can and must share responsibility for strengthening the systems in which we operate, and that we must be the change we seek in the world,” said FMG CEO Ben Garthwaite. “It is our hope that through our research and actions, more businesses will ultimately adopt policies that support rather than punish employees with a history of SUD and help bring employees recovering from SUD out of the shadows.”
FMG conducted a brief survey in September to help inform the development of the multiyear effort. The survey was among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans to measure attitudes about SUD. The initial results found that:
- 81% agreed that most employers would be cautious of hiring someone who has been treated for SUD.
- 70% of people in recovery felt that a job interviewer wouldn’t hire them if they mentioned their substance history in a job interview.
- 67% agreed that most people think less of a person who has been in treatment for SUD.
- 93% said it’s important for employers to support substance use recovery programs for their employees.
- 92% of people surveyed said they’d purchase a product from a brand that supports addiction recovery.
“The results of the first set of questions that we put into the field were both shocking and hopeful,” said Garthwaite. “The data in this survey is a call to action for business leaders to institute human resource policies that include treatment and recovery services for their employees and to treat employees with SUD with the compassion and support that they would offer an employee suffering from any other disease.”
Three years ago, as the opioid crisis continued to grow with the proliferation of fentanyl, FMG began leveraging its internal resources to support systems change and engage in social impact on the issue. Since 2019, the company has dedicated more than $1 million in pro bono services to combating the stigma associated with SUD and strengthening the infrastructure of recovery services across the country.
Garthwaite announced the initial survey sampling results today at the Mobilize Recovery Conference, organized by leading SUD Recovery Activist Ryan Hampton, where he addressed conference attendees as a keynote speaker along with former President Bill Clinton, joining other special guests including rapper Macklemore, Tom Hill from the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, and others. In his remarks, Garthwaite also shared the steps FMG is taking internally to support its employees, including the launch of its Workplace-Supported Recovery Program, which will:
- Educate employees on SUD and, specifically, on recovery.
- Train all supervisors on how to best support employees with SUD, from diagnosis to full recovery.
- Provide, as part of its benefits package, recovery coaching for any employee who needs or wants it.
- Offer education and support for family members (including both dependents and non-dependents).
“As the CEO of a company with nearly 400 employees, not a single day goes by where I’m not thinking about how we can best support our employees and put our people first,” said Garthwaite. “FMG will be using our Workplace-Supported Recovery Program and benefit offerings to model what companies can do to address stigma and provide their employees with support and tools to find the power, health, and happiness that recovery can offer.”
Since 2019, FMG has been actively engaged in stigma reduction efforts and increasing awareness of what it means to be in recovery from SUD. Three years ago, FMG joined forces with the Global Recovery Initiatives (GRI) Foundation, WPP, and iHeartMedia to create the National Opioid Action Coalition (NOAC), which developed a public awareness initiative called #TalktoMe designed to reduce stigma as a barrier to opioid use disorder (OUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery. In 2020, FMG hosted the first-of-its-kind virtual SUD Recovery Research Summit, bringing together a diverse group of more than 200 participants—including recovery researchers, academic institutions, private funders, corporations, and senior government officials—to identify gaps, challenges, and opportunities to advance the field of recovery. FMG is currently working with AmeriCorps to build a model Recovery Corps program that will further build out the infrastructure of local recovery organizations across the country.
About Fors Marsh Group
FMG is a company that uses business as a force for good. As a B Corporation, it governs from a set of values and policies that compound the positive impact for its employees, clients, and partners. The company is committed to working with the public and private sectors to build a body of research in SUD that will result in a range of science-based services that are accessible and will increase the number of people who can sustain their recovery.