Familial perceptions of appropriate treatment types and goals for a family member who has opioid use disorder

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Background: Despite effective, evidence-based medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), these treatments remain underutilized. This may be due to multiple reasons. Family members may impact patient decision-making when choosing an opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment. While there has been work on patient preferences and attitudes towards opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment, to date, there has been minimal work assessing the attitudes of family member towards OUD treatment and recovery. Methods: Participants were ≥ 18 years of age and endorsed having a first-degree family member with past-year treatment for OUD. Participants were recruited via online crowdsourcing and were asked a number of questions regarding their desired outcomes for OUD treatment, and their familiarity, approval, and perceived effectiveness of various OUD treatment options. Results: The most commonly reported desired treatment outcome (50 %) was for family members to never use any kind of opioid, including maintenance therapies or opioid analgesics. Mean familiarity ratings for MOUD (rated 0–100) were relatively low, with naltrexone being the least familiar (32.3). Among those who endorsed a familiarity rating of at least 30 for a given treatment, mean approval and effectiveness ratings were relatively low—buprenorphine (approve 55.1; effective 54.1), methadone (approve 51.9; effective 49.3), naltrexone (approve 61.6; effective 55.9). These were lower than approval and effectiveness ratings for all non-MOUD treatments queried. Conclusions: These findings highlight a need for clinicians and researchers to engage with family members’ regarding their preferences and understanding of treatment, and to better understand how this might impact patient engagement with treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108649
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • Attitudes
  • Buprenorphine
  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Opioid use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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