Stigmatizing perceptions related to people with opioid use disorder (OUD) are reinforced in medical education and increase during time spent in formal education, revealing the “hidden curriculum” of negative bias towards individuals with OUD. In addition, stigmatizing language commonly used in medical records influences the attitudes and prescribing behaviors of residents. This approach continues into practice: only 20% of general internists report feeling prepared to screen individuals with substance-use disorders (SUD) and 31% report that individuals with SUD differ from other patients with chronic disease. These attitudes likely contribute to only 9% of general internists discussing treatment with patients identified as having SUD. This stigma appears to be primarily driven by inadequate education, training, and support in working with individuals with OUD.
In 2020, with support of the AAMC's Opioid Education Challenge Grant, Dell Medical School released the Reducing Stigma Education Tools (ReSET) modules. This interactive and evidence-based educational platform includes original video content of people with lived experience who are in recovery, incorporates learning check points, and was designed by University of Texas researchers with expertise in health communication. The 90-minute curriculum includes important topics such as the origin of stigma, impact of drug policy on stigma, and clinical applications of how stigma reduces access to care. Importantly, the modules also provide a call to action including using patient-first recovery-centered language, information about medications for opioid use disorder, and principles of motivational interviewing. This curriculum is appropriate for any trainee at any stage of learning from any health profession. Free continuing education credit is provided for practicing physicians, nurses, social workers, and pharmacists. The ReSET modules may be freely accessed at www.ResetStigma.org or by clicking the "Visit Website" button on this page.
Richard Bottner, DHA, PA-C, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Christopher Moriates, MD, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Amber Baysinger, MD, PhD, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Kristin Escamilla, MD, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Sussann Kotara, MD, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Clarissa Johnston, MD, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Victoria Valencia, MPH, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin
Undergraduate Medical Education (UME), Graduate Medical Education (GME), Continuing Medical Education/Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD), Interprofessional
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Distance Learning - Asynchronous
Patient – Teaching
Patient Presentation - Patient
KeywordsProfessionalism, Ethics, Stigma, Addiction, Methadone, Health Equity, History, Harm Reduction, Medication Assisted Treatment, Opioid Overdose, Opioid Crisis, Naloxone, Opiate Epidemic, Biases, Opiate, Buprenorphine, Opioid Use disorder, Substance Use disorder, Opiate Use Disorder
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