Purpose: To determine perspectives towards opioid use, knowledge on managing an opioid overdose, and awareness towards individuals who use opioids of Indiana physical therapy (PT) professionals. Methods: An online questionnaire was disseminated to PT professionals in Indiana from various practice settings. This questionnaire included two standardized measures, the Opioid Overdose Knowledge Scale (OOKS) and the Opioid Overdose Attitude Scale (OOAS). An additional 12 questions regarding the role of PT and other groups in the opioid crisis as well as opioid education were included. These questions were developed by discussion between investigators as well as feedback from another rehabilitation professional. Descriptive statistics were primarily used to analyze the data. Further investigation via non-parametric tests, including Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal-Wallis tests, were performed to analyze the impact of demographic variables on OOKS and OOAS scores. Results: Of 1840 surveys disseminated, the questionnaire was initiated by 67 PT professionals, while 58 participants completed it. The OOKS score was 30.24 mean (5.67 standard deviation) and the OOAS score was 90.36 (9.36). 93.1% of respondents reported wanting to help in an overdose situation, but 94.8% of respondents also reported needing more training. Only 48.3% of participants received education on the opioid crisis within the last 3 years that significantly impacted their clinical practice. Those who had opioid education in the last 3 years had higher OOKS scores (p = .003) and OOAS scores (p = .002) compared to those who did not receive opioid education. American Physical Therapy Association members had statistically significant higher OOAS scores (p = .005) but not OOKS scores (p = .322). Conclusion: A sample of PT professionals in Indiana surveyed in this study lack knowledge and awareness on opioid use, specifically managing an overdose. While most want to help, further education or training is needed for them to confidently manage these situations.

Author Bio(s)

Steven G. Kinney, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT is a physical therapist at Hackensack Meridian Health in North Bergen, NJ. He is also a guest lecturer at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN.

John D. Kiesel, PT, DPT, OCS, is an associate professor and physical therapist at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN. He is also a Ph.D. student in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana State University.


The authors would like to thank Shelene Thomas for her feedback on this study. They would also like to thank Kourtnaye Sturgeon and Justin Philips from Overdose Lifeline, Inc. for valued insights regarding harm reduction.



IRBNetDocument-Exempt Letter (1).pdf (109 kB)
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