Dennis Wendt

Dennis C. Wendt is an Associate Professor with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University, and the Director of the Cultural and Indigenous Research in Counselling Psychology (CIRC) Laboratory. For the past 12 years, Professor Wendt has collaborated with Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States in exploring, developing, and evaluating culturally relevant interventions pertaining to mental health, substance use, and community wellness. The author of over 35 peer-reviewed publications, Professor Wendt is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Early Career Contributions in Qualitative Inquiry Award, from the American Psychological Association (Division of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods). 

Indigenous Peoples and medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD): a scoping review

Background / Aims: The opioid epidemic has greatly impacted Indigenous communities, and has only worsened in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the general population, medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), such as buprenorphine and methadone, have prevented relapse and overdose, reduced infectious disease transmission, and improved psychosocial functioning. However, there are questions about the transferability of this research to Indigenous communities, in terms of cultural perspectives, access / availability, and outcomes. This study aimed to explore the existing research concerning the use, acceptability, and outcomes pertaining to MOUD and Indigenous Peoples.

Methods: We conducted a scoping review of the peer-reviewed literature within four databases (MEDLINE, PsycInfo, ERIC, Scopus) to distil MOUD research in the context of Indigenous Peoples in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (four countries with similar – largely British – settler-colonial histories, Indigenous affairs policies, and healthcare systems). Articles were included if they included content or outcomes at the intersection of MOUD and Indigenous populations within these countries.

Results: The search resulted in 313 deduplicated articles; 30 articles met inclusion criteria after screening and full-text review. Studies ranged in terms of MOUD types and were disproportionately Canadian studies (50%); 60% of studies focused on specific medications, and 40% pertained to general MOUD treatment.

Conclusions: Findings support the use of MOUD with Indigenous communities; however, clear challenges and research gaps are evident in terms of integration with cultural programming and access to care. Indigenous-led research, including clinical trials, is recommended to best draw from and support Indigenous strategies and solutions.