Providers’ Stigmas and the Effects on Patients with Opioid Use Disorder: A Scoping Review

Peyton Skaggs, Sarah Beth Bell, F. Douglas Scutchfield MD, Lauren E. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: One of the most prevalent, dangerous stigmas in health care is the complex bias toward patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). This stigma damages the vital patient–provider relationship, further perpetuating the opioid epidemic.

Purpose: Unfortunately, research on the relationship between OUD and provider stigma is greatly lacking. To fill this gap, the present in-depth study undertakes a scoping review of research on providers’ stigma toward OUD in order to determine how enacted stigma affects treatment plans.

Methods: Four databases were used to identify articles published from 1999 to 2021. A comprehensive search strategy was developed through a collaborative process between the researchers and a medical librarian. The researchers used the methodological framework developed by Arksey and O’Malley (2005) and expanded upon by Levac et al.(2010) to chart study characteristics and themes.

Results: A total of 196 search items were retrieved. After de-duplication (n=31), remaining articles were screened based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria detailed in the protocol. After both a title/abstract review and full-text review, an additional 158 articles were removed. This yielded a total of seven articles. Three main themes were identified in the literature: (1) rural–urban differences in bias; (2) provider concern regarding legal implications and regulatory concerns; and (3) the belief that OUD is a moral failing rather than a medical diagnosis.

Implications: Additional research should further analyze prescribed treatment plans for patients with OUD and utilize this information to create future considerations aimed at reducing opioid-related stigma in healthcare in Appalachia.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Appalachian Health
StatePublished - Jan 15 2023


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