Primary care physicians' perspectives on the prescription opioid epidemic

Alene Kennedy-Hendricks, Susan H. Busch, Emma E. McGinty, Marcus A. Bachhuber, Jeff Niederdeppe, Sarah E. Gollust, Daniel W. Webster, David A. Fiellin, Colleen L. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Prescription opioid use disorder and overdose have risen substantially in the U.S. Primary care physicians are critical to many ongoing and proposed efforts to address the prescription opioid epidemic. Yet, little is known about their attitudes and beliefs surrounding this issue. This study aimed to determine primary care physicians' perceptions of the seriousness of the problem, its causes, groups responsible for addressing it, attitudes toward individuals with prescription opioid use disorder, beliefs about the effectiveness of addiction treatments, and support for various policies. Methods: We conducted a national web-based survey in 2014 among 1010 primary care physicians. We gauged responses to attitude and belief items on 7-point Likert scales. We examined the proportion agreeing with each statement, and whether responses differed among physicians prescribing higher and lower volumes of opioids. Results: Respondents largely attributed the causes of prescription opioid use disorder to individual-oriented factors and certain physician-oriented factors, and believed that individuals with prescription opioid use disorder and physicians were primarily responsible for addressing the problem. Negative attitudes toward people with prescription opioid use disorder were prevalent, but a majority believed that treatment could be effective. There was majority support for all measured policies, with the highest levels of support for policies to monitor prescribing among patients potentially at risk for an opioid use disorder and to improve physician education and training. Conclusions: Given strong endorsement of recommended policies, physician support could be leveraged to advance efforts to curb prescription opioid use disorder and overdose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 6 2016

Keywords

  • Analgesics
  • Opioid-related disorders
  • Opioids
  • Physicians
  • Primary care
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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    Kennedy-Hendricks, A., Busch, S. H., McGinty, E. E., Bachhuber, M. A., Niederdeppe, J., Gollust, S. E., Webster, D. W., Fiellin, D. A., & Barry, C. L. (Accepted/In press). Primary care physicians' perspectives on the prescription opioid epidemic. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.05.010