Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Intravenous drug abusers-Treatment, Intravenous drug abusers-Mental health, Psychotherapist and patient, Harm reduction, Psychotherapists-Attitudes, People who inject drugs (PWID), Stigma, Substance use treatment


People who use injection drugs (PWID) continue to face high rates of death and disease, further exacerbated by the ongoing opioid epidemic. Research indicates that stigma toward this population is high among health care providers, which is shown to result in poor health outcomes and ostracize these high-risk patients from treatment. In the U.S., the dominant substance treatment model is abstinence-based, despite evidence from around the world supporting use of harm reduction interventions which focus on goals to reduce the harmful impacts of drug use to individuals and communities. This quantitative study examined nurses’ attitudes toward PWID and nurses’ receptivity to harm reduction treatment approaches. The lack of a statistically significant relationship between attitudes and behaviors may be attributable to survey methodology, hospital culture, and a bias towards reporting social desirable answers. However, findings of areas of stigma and receptivity may be useful in revising training and program implementation.




ii, 60 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-54)

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