Characteristics and engagement among English-language online forums for addiction recovery available in the US

Jason Colditz, Lily Hsiao, Brandon Bergman, David Best, Eric Hulsey, Jamie Sidani, Bruce Rollman, Kevin Kraemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In developing public resources for the Networks Enhancing Addiction Recovery – Forum Activity Roadmap (NEAR-FAR), we completed a comprehensive observational study of English-language online forums related to recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction. Among 207 identified forums, the majority were classified as “general addiction” or alcohol-focused, though classifications related to other substances were common on websites hosting multiple forums. Commonly used social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, or Quora offered easily accessible venues for individuals seeking online support related to a variety of addictive substances. They included forums related to established mutual help programs such as 12-step and SMART recovery, other nonprofit and for-profit recovery programs, and community forums without formal programs. Among 148 forums with any observed user activity, the median time between unique user engagements was 27 days (inter-quartile range: 2-74). Among 98 forums with past-month posting activity, we found a median of <10 posts per week (inter-quartile range: 1-78). This study compares three metrics of observed forum user activity (posts per week, responses per post, time between unique user engagements) and considers forum characteristics that may potentiate greater engagement and support in addiction recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages7
JournalInternet Interventions
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2024


  • substance use
  • alcohol use
  • addiction recovery
  • online
  • forum
  • social media


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