Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lim, Caroline


Background: The effects of living with a substance use disorder (SUD) are vast. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has grown increasingly popular as a recovery tool among substance users but does not align with the popular 12-step model, which demands complete abstinence from narcotics and mind-altering substances. Objective: The primary aim of this phenomenology study was to explore the perspectives and attitudes towards MAT among 12-step participants. The secondary aim was to compare the responses of treatment and non-treatment professionals. Methods: This study used non-probability sampling methods to recruit participants who reported regular participation in a 12-step program. Semi-structured interviews were conducted virtually. The qualitative data were analyzed utilizing thematic analysis. Results: Fourteen participants were enrolled, with an equal number of treatment professionals and non-treatment professionals. Most participants perceived MAT as effective and beneficial, and reported support of MAT recipients. Treatment providers were more likely to embrace MAT than non-treatment providers, and this difference may be explained by higher levels of educational attainment and formal training on MAT. Despite favorable perceptions and attitudes, stigma, related to the use of medication as a recovery tool, may continue to pose a barrier for integrating MAT and 12-step principles. Conclusion: Efforts to provide formal education on the efficacy of MAT should continue to the general population.