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Experiences, Interpretive Phenomenology, Opioid Use Disorder, Women



  1. Keenan, Lizette C. PhD, RN
  2. Ojeda, Maria M. DNP-PhD, MPH, BA, APRN, RN, NP-C, BC-ADM
  3. Valdez, Anna RN, PhD


Abstract: The number of women experiencing opioid use disorder (OUD) in Canada has increased exponentially. In Canada, healthcare is socialized and free for all citizens and, often, medications like methadone are free as well, yet few individuals with OUD access treatment services. The purpose of this study was to describe the lived experiences of Canadian women with OUD who were receiving methadone treatment. Interpretive phenomenology was used to investigate the treatment experiences of seven women with OUD. The conceptual framework of self-care of chronic illness was used to examine this phenomenon. Data were analyzed using a seven-step process of interpretive phenomenological analysis. Four major themes emerged: learning how to be you again, reaching out for help, finding your way to methadone, and going down the path of methadone. Women's experiences were influenced by family, friends, and healthcare providers. Accessibility and self-determination were important factors in entering and sustaining treatment. This study contributes to the discipline of nursing by providing accurate information regarding women's experiences with OUD and uncovering practice changes that can attract and retain women in treatment.