This study evaluates how participants with and without lived experience would allocate funding for and rank initiatives to address the opioid epidemic.
This study illustrates how people with and without lived experience prioritize various policies to address the opioid epidemic and emphasize comparably low support for harm reduction policies. Proof-of-concept data suggest that brief informational interventions may increase funding support for harm reduction strategies, at least in a subset of people. Despite billions of dollars spent on opioid policy initiatives, public knowledge of evidence-based policies to reduce opioid-related morbidity remain low. Consequences of this knowledge gap for support of initiatives remains understudied. The authors’ objective was to evaluate how participants with and without lived experience allocate funding for initiatives to address the opioid epidemic. A secondary objective was to collect proof-of-concept data of an informational intervention designed to improve support for evidence-based policies. Participants (N = 284; 57.2% female) without lifetime nonmedical opioid use (n = 98) and those with lifetime use (past year [n = 81] or nonpast year [n = 105]) of nonmedical opioids were recruited. All participants reported how they would allocate funds to demand reduction, supply reduction, harm reduction, and treatment policies. Half of all participants were then randomized to a brief informational intervention designed to emphasize evidence-based harm reduction and treatment programs. Funding allocations were highest for policies related to community services and treatment and lowest for those related to harm reduction. Participants with lived experience allocated less to supply reduction policies. Participants (12%) who reallocated funds after information exposure increased funding to supervised consumption sites, dz = 0.77, naloxone distribution, dz = 0.85, syringe exchange programs, dz = 0.63, and medications for opioid use disorder access, dz = 0.70. (Published Abstract Provided)