Prescription opioid and heroin use and addiction is a local, national, and worldwide epidemic plaguing over 11 million people. Attitudes toward substance use among the general public were highlighted as an area that needs to be further investigated and addressed. The Reducing Opioid Bias is Necessary (ROBIN) educational project was developed and presented to 21 participants as a one-time, 4-hour pretest and posttest design that included theoretical background, short videos, a documentary film, and writings from individuals and community members affected by opioid use disorder (OUD). Participants were assessed on their familiarity, attitudes, and effectiveness of the ROBIN educational program on their perceptions toward persons with OUD.
Quantitative data collection included demographic information, level of familiarity, the Attitudes to Mental Illness Questionnaire, and the Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire. Qualitative measures included reflective writing and focus group discussion 2 months after the program. Quantitative measures were completed using descriptive statistics, and qualitative data were sorted for common themes.
Spearman's rank rho of 0.947 (p < .05) indicated less familiarity and more bias attitudes toward people with OUD. The paired-sample t test on the Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire indicated a significant decrease in participant bias in the posttest (M = 59.33, SD = 16.48) when compared with the pretest (M = 74.86, SD = 19.38), t(20) = 5.17, p = .00002. The qualitative data from the written reflection and focus group indicated strong changes in participants' overall understanding, empathy, and desire for promoting the educational program.
The ROBIN program can reduce bias among community and healthcare subjects. Limitations to the study should be addressed in future research on this topic.