Community-level determinants of stakeholder perceptions of community stigma toward people with opioid use disorders, harm reduction services and treatment in the HEALing Communities Study

Alissa Davis, Kristi Lynn Stringer, Mari Lynn Drainoni, Carrie B. Oser, Hannah K. Knudsen, Alison Aldrich, Hilary L. Surratt, Daniel M. Walker, Louisa Gilbert, Dget L. Downey, Sam D. Gardner, Sylvia Tan, Lisa M. Lines, Nathan Vandergrift, Nicole Mack, Ja Nae Holloway, Karsten Lunze, Ann Scheck McAlearney, Timothy R. Huerta, Dawn A. Goddard-EckrichNabila El-Bassel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Community stigma toward people with opioid use disorder (OUD) can impede access to harm reduction services and treatment with medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Such community OUD stigma is partially rooted in community-level social and economic conditions, yet there remains a paucity of large-scale quantitative data examining community-level factors associated with OUD stigma. We examined whether rurality, social inequity, and racialized segregation across communities from four states in the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) were associated with 1) greater perceived community stigma toward people treated for OUD, 2) greater perceived intervention stigma toward MOUD, and 3) greater perceived intervention stigma toward naloxone by community stakeholders in the HCS. Methods: From November 2019-January 2020, a cross-sectional survey about community OUD stigma was administered to 801 members of opioid overdose prevention coalitions across 66 communities in four states prior to the start of HCS intervention activities. Bivariate analyses assessed pairwise associations between community rural/urban status and each of the three stigma variables, using linear mixed effect modeling to account for response clustering within communities, state, and respondent sociodemographic characteristics. We conducted similar bivariate analyses to assess pairwise associations between racialized segregation and social inequity. Results: On average, the perceived community OUD stigma scale score of stakeholders from rural communities was 4% higher (β=1.57, SE=0.7, p≤0.05), stigma toward MOUD was 6% higher (β=0.28, SE=0.1, p≤0.05), and stigma toward naloxone was 10% higher (β=0.46, SE=0.1, p≤0.01) than among stakeholders from urban communities. No significant differences in the three stigma variables were found among communities based on racialized segregation or social inequity. Conclusion: Perceived community stigma toward people treated for OUD, MOUD, and naloxone was higher among stakeholders in rural communities than in urban communities. Findings suggest that interventions and policies to reduce community-level stigma, particularly in rural areas, are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104241
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume122
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

Keywords

  • Community coalitions
  • Drug treatment
  • Medication
  • Naloxone
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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