Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

James B. Wells


The opioid crisis has plagued the United States but disproportionately affects the often-overlooked Appalachian region. This area faces unique barriers preventing better access to quality Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment facilities despite opioid-related deaths continuing to rise. An especially vulnerable population in this region are pregnant and postpartum women who face even more challenges acquiring proper drug treatment. Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), also called Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), is considered the standard of treatment for OUD and reduces the effects of NAS, yet it is heavily stigmatized and underutilized in populations who could benefit from the medication. This study seeks to compare urban and rural attitudes towards MAT and the pregnant and postpartum women who use MAT to treat OUD. This study hypothesized that rural areas would show statistically higher levels of negative attitudes towards MAT and its clients. The following scales displayed statistically significant differences: Degree of Criticism Toward Drug Dependent Women, Degree of Negative Attitudes Toward Clients Using MAT, Degree of Positive Attitudes Toward Clients Using MAT, How Problematic Lack of Buy-In and Negative Views Are. Only one scale was not statistically significant: How Problematic Client-Specific Barriers Are. This study seeks to bridge the gap in the literature that overlooks rural areas in opioid research and hopes to increase awareness of a vulnerable population.

Included in

Criminology Commons