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Are You Seeing Clearly? Refocus, Look Again: Anti-Stigma Training Pilot for Maryland’s OUD Treatment Community

Project Contact: Jennifer Brown & Katie Rouse

On Our Own of MD (OOMD), a peer-run advocacy and education organization, developed a 2 ½ hour intervention designed to increase the awareness of and remediate the stigma related to the use of medication-based treatment (MBT) to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). The intervention was designed to be facilitated for a treatment provider audience. Stigma is one of the most significant barriers to recovery, impacting not only help-seeking behaviors but the quality of services if they are accessed, making providers a crucial audience for this intervention. To do this, its flagship workshop, Stigma: in Our Work, in Our Lives, was revised and adapted specifically to examine provider attitudes regarding OUD and the use of MBT to promote recovery.

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OOMD expanded its original design to include pertinent data and examples, created resource materials, and 

developed a new 20-minute training video used as a training tool during the workshop. The video synthesized ten separate interviews that it conducted with a variety of stakeholders about their experiences with the opioid crisis. In addition, OOMD developed three short “Snippets of Stigma” videos which combined comments from interview subjects with current data and insights from national subject matter experts, and shared them on its social media platforms. 

Between April 2022 and January 2023, OOMD conducted ten workshops for 132 participants who provide healthcare services to those who are facing substance use challenges, specifically opioid use disorder. OOMD also trained six qualified ASP facilitators to provide the training. Six workshops were done for specific substance use treatment provider organizations, and four were public workshops offered to any provider of SUD treatment. It administered surveys at the end of each workshop that rated the effectiveness of the workshop and also the impact of the workshop on the participants themselves. This included the stigma they have faced as providers as well as their own stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors regarding the people they serve. 

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The staff of On Our Own of Maryland then worked with the IRIS research team to analyze the data. The results were quite positive: 87% of respondents reported that they found the workshop to be excellent. In addition, 78% of them indicated that they felt very safe discussing what can be a very difficult topic. As one of the most significant methods of reducing stigma involves a combination of education and contact, having confirmation that this intervention successfully provides educational information in a modality that allows folks to safely and impactfully share their personal thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about this topic, was significant. 

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