University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Survey Assessing Medical Student and Physician Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding the Opioid Crisis

Skyler Chouinard, BS; Aman Prasad, PhD; Randall Brown, MD, PhD

WMJ. 2018;117(1):34-37.

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Background: There is a national opioid misuse and overdose crisis. Consensus guidelines seek to inform practice and reduce risk; however, effect on clinician attitudes and knowledge remains unclear.

Methods: We surveyed 228 medical students and physicians in Wisconsin to assess their knowledge regarding at-risk patients, alternatives to opioids, and best treatment practices for opioid addiction. We also assessed attitudes about prescribing naloxone, relapse likelihood, and responsibility for the crisis.

Results: Knowledge and attitudes were similar, including that overprescribing by health care professionals is a driving factor. Attitudes on relapse likelihood were different, but both groups believed sustained recovery from addiction was possible.

Discussion: Enhancement of opioid-related education is both necessary to address knowledge gaps and desired by students and physicians.


Author Affiliations: University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wis (Chouinard, Prasad, Brown); Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, UW-Madison, Madison, Wis (Brown).

Corresponding Author: Randall Brown, MD, PhD, FASAM, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of WisconsinMadison, 1100 Delaplaine Ct, Madison, WI 53715; phone 608.263.6558; fax 608.263.5813; email

Acknowledgement: The authors thank Caroline Miller and Florence Hilliard of Wisconsin Voices for Recovery for help designing the survey.

Funding/Support: None declared.

Financial disclosures: None declared.