Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

Project – Full Written

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Committee Chair

Candice J. Rome


It is difficult to turn on the news without hearing about the opioid epidemic or a recent opioid overdose. There is hope because there is a treatment to help prevent this epidemic. That treatment is known as medication-assisted therapy (MAT), where patients can present and, if they meet the criteria, can be given a prescription for buprenorphine/naloxone combination medication. Treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone has been shown to be highly effective treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). Even though it has been proven that this combination works, less than 20% of patients diagnosed with SUD present for treatment. This study focused on how patients diagnosed with SUD attending a MAT program perceive internalized stigma before and after an educational program on self-stigma. A combination of pre- and post-questionnaires and an educational program on combating self-stigma were presented. The results of the pre-test survey indicated that overall, internalized stigma was moderate, with a mean average of 2.41%. The post-survey results indicated that those surveyed remained in the moderate category with a mean average of 2.09%. This indicated that the educational program influenced the lowering of self-stigma but did not significantly lower scores, meaning more work is needed. If we are to combat the opioid crisis, practitioners must be aware and understand that patient's self-stigma has real-world effects which could lead to relapse, overdose, and possibly death.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License