Perspectives Regarding Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Among Individuals with Mental Illness

Published in: Community Mental Health Journal (2022). doi: 10.1007/s10597-022-01012-x

Posted on RAND.org on January 04, 2023

by Derjung M. Tarn, Kevin J. Shih, Allison J. Ober, Sarah B. Hunter, Katherine E. Watkins, Jeremy Martinez, Alanna Montero, Michael McCreary, Isabel Leamon, John Sheehe, et al.

Most people with co-occurring opioid use disorder (OUD) and mental illness do not receive effective medications for treating OUD. To investigate perspectives of adults in a publicly-funded mental health system regarding medications for OUD (MOUD), we conducted semi-structured telephone interviews with 13 adults with OUD (current or previous diagnosis) receiving mental health treatment. Themes that emerged included: perceiving or using MOUDs as a substitute for opioids or a temporary solution to prevent withdrawal symptoms; negative perceptions about methadone/methadone clinics; and viewing MOUD use as "cheating". Readiness to quit was important for patients to consider MOUDs. All participants were receptive to discussing MOUDs with their mental health providers and welcomed the convenience of receiving care for their mental health and OUD at the same location. In conclusion, clients at publicly-funded mental health clinics support MOUD treatment, signaling a need to expand access and build awareness of MOUDs in these settings.

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