People with Lived(-ing) Experience as Researchers (PLER) Board - A National Research Collaboration
Communities are experts on their own culture and needs and people don’t have to have letters behind their names to have knowledge that is valid and valuable. Research designed with people who use drugs in mind should be developed side-by-side with, and even led by, people who use drugs; however the research enterprise has systemic problems.
The marginalization of people of color has resulted in tokenization, exploitation, stigmatization, and misrepresentation at the hands of researchers. To make matters worse, these unacceptable costs of research have been paired with very little (or inequitable) benefit to the researched communities, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. These systemic challenges call for systemic solutions.
To address this challenge, AIR’s Center for Addiction Research and Effective Solutions (AIR CARES) and the National Harm Reduction Coalition (NHRC) established the People with Lived(-ing) Experience as Researchers (PLER) Board.
A national board of people who use drugs, representing drug user unions and harm reduction organizations in every region of the United States, PLER will define research priorities and embark on research projects that build community and reflect community needs. This initiative aims to challenge the mainstream research enterprise and build capacity for people with living and lived experience to not just participate, but drive and lead research.