Opioid-related structural stigma in chronic pain management: An interdisciplinary investigation.

01 October 2022 → 30 September 2026
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Health psychology
    • Medical anthropology
    • Sociology of health
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Pain medicine anaesthesiology
    • Health promotion and policy
    • Primary health care
    • Clinical pharmacy
    • Pharmaceutical care
Chronic pain Opioid medication Patient Provider Stigma
Project description

Given the dramatic increase in opioid prescription and associated health risks for patients, the Belgian healthcare system is developing and implementing guidelines to revise opioid use in clinical settings. However, although these policies have managed to reduce opioid use and related risks in the US, an unintended consequence has been that the use of opioids, even in strictly monitored clinical settings, has become highly stigmatized, which appears to contribute to less effective pain management and reduced patient wellbeing. However, fundamental research into the conceptualisation of opioid-related stigma and its impact on patients, providers and pain care, is lacking. The proposed project will aim to conceptualize and study opioid-related stigmatization from an interdisciplinary perspective, while focusing on current evolutions in opioid use in Belgian healthcare as a case study.