Healthcare Provider Stigma Related to the Opioid Use Epidemic and its Impact on Patient Treatment and Clinical Management
Despite the availability of life-saving medications, the national opioid-related overdose crisis has been called “an epidemic of poor access to care.” Primary care settings have been identified as untapped opportunities to engage individuals with substance use disorders and to offer evidence-based addiction treatment. Provider stigma - defined as negative attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors that providers embody and enact (sometimes subtly or involuntarily) towards their patients – poses one critical barrier to effective delivery of care. Understanding the science of such stigma is critical to change providers’ mindset regarding opioid use disorders to one that can be successfully managed in primary care in alignment with other chronic conditions. This study will address these issues by conducting a national provider survey of the general practice workforce (primary care physicians, medical specialists, and dentists). A representative sample will be drawn from federally qualified health care centers and other health care settings to better understand their attitudes and stigma towards opioid misuse and its role in shaping their practices, beliefs, and behaviors about access to addiction treatment. Specific aims are: (1) to define the scope of provider stigma and identify barriers to treating opioid use disorders in medical care and dental care settings, and (2) to investigate what potential intervention strategies are needed to address identified barriers to improve the delivery of opioid treatment in primary care settings across the United States.