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Home > Professional education to reduce provider stigma toward harm reduction and pharmacotherapy.

Sulzer, Sandra H and Prevedel, Suzanne and Barrett, Tyson and Wright Ross, Maren (2021) Professional education to reduce provider stigma toward harm reduction and pharmacotherapy. Drugs: Education Prevention and Policy, Early online, . https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2021.1936457.

External website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09687...


Aims: A novel professional training was developed to reduce stigma toward harm reduction and pharmacotherapy for substance use disorders. 

Methods: The training was delivered over three sessions to n = 147 health professionals in Utah between 2019 and 2020, including n = 40 substance use disorder treatment professionals. Pre and post-training survey measures provided evaluation information on knowledge, attitudes, and planned action regarding harm reduction and pharmacotherapy. Items were grouped into a stigma score, and multilevel modeling, regression analyses, and McNemar tests were used to quantify changes in overall stigma toward harm reduction interventions both before and after the training. 

Results: The training significantly decreased the total stigma score toward harm reduction. At the individual item level, 6 of the 22 items showed significant change in reduced stigma, and all items moved in the direction of decreased stigma. These items include both attitudes and planned action aspects of the total stigma score. 

Conclusion: This study suggests that education targeting prejudice and discriminatory actions against harm reduction and pharmacotherapy interventions among healthcare professionals may contribute to stigma reduction. These results provide a basis for intervention effectiveness, addressing preconceived ideas, and show community need for such substance use interventions, as a component of future stigma reduction efforts.

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