Comparing the feasibility of four web-based recruitment strategies to evaluate the treatment preferences of rural and urban adults who misuse non-prescribed opioids

Prev Med. 2021 Nov;152(Pt 2):106783. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106783. Epub 2021 Sep 7.


This cross-sectional study examined the feasibility of using four different web-based strategies to recruit rural and urban adults who use opioids non-medically for a survey on opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment preferences, and compared the treatment preferences of rural versus urban participants. Preferences for medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) formulation and OUD treatment models were assessed through an online survey. Recruitment advertisements were shown on Facebook, Google AdWords, Reddit, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Participants were categorized by zip code into urban versus rural residence using the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid Health Resources and Services Administration definitions. OUD treatment preferences were compared using chi-square and t-tests. Among the 851 participants recruited, 815 provided zip codes and were classified as residing in rural (n = 200, 24.5%) or urban (n = 615, 75.4%) regions. A crowdsourcing service (MTurk) recruited the most rural participants, while posts on a social news website (Reddit) recruited the most urban participants (χ23 = 17.0, p < 0.01). While preferred MOUD formulation and OUD treatment model did not differ by rurality, rural participants were more likely to report a willingness to receive OUD treatment integrated with general medical care (χ21 = 18.9, p < 0.0001). This study demonstrated that web-based strategies are feasible for recruiting rural adults who misuse opioids. Results suggest OUD treatment preferences largely did not differ by rural residence, and highlight the importance of enhancing the availability and increasing education about MOUD formulations in rural regions.

Keywords: Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD); Opioid use disorder; Patient preference; Recruitment; Rurality; Web-based survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid* / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • United States


  • Analgesics, Opioid