Does a Rural Community-Based Intervention Improve Knowledge and Attitudes of Opioid Use Disorder and Medication-Assisted Treatment? A Report From the IT MATTTRs Study

J Rural Health. 2022 Jan;38(1):120-128. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12545. Epub 2020 Nov 26.


Purpose: Understanding knowledge of and attitudes toward medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) is important to changing the conversation about this devastating public health problem. While several studies report clinician knowledge and attitudes and training, less is known about community member perspectives. As part of the Implementing Technology and Medication Assisted Treatment Team Training in Rural Colorado study (IT MATTTRs), this study describes the implementation of community-based interventions developed by rural community members and researchers to increase awareness and promote positive attitudes toward MAT for OUD and explores changes in community members' OUD and MAT knowledge and beliefs.

Methods: Using the Boot Camp Translation process, the High Plains Research Network and Colorado Research Network MAT Advisory Councils developed multicomponent interventions on MAT for OUD. Baseline and postintervention surveys were administered using venue-based sampling of community members in rural communities.

Findings: Surveys were completed by 789 community members at baseline and 798 at postintervention. Nearly half (49%) reported exposure to at least 1 intervention product. Greater exposure to intervention materials was associated with beliefs that using opioids to get high in rural communities is a problem (P < .0001), that opioid addiction is a chronic disease (P = .0032), and that OUD can be treated locally (P = .0003).

Conclusions: Partnering with local community members resulted in the successful development and implementation of community-based interventions, exposure to which was associated with OUD knowledge and beliefs. Locally created interventions should be included in comprehensive approaches to stem the OUD epidemic.

Keywords: Boot Camp Translation; knowledge; medication-assisted treatment; opioid use disorder; rural community health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Attitude
  • Colorado
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Rural Population*


  • Analgesics, Opioid