First Advisor

Pamella Stoeckel

Second Advisor

Patricia L. Cullen


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Loretto Heights

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

63 pages



Incarcerated adults face the challenge of remaining opiate free after release from incarceration. Despite services offered in jail substance use disorder disproportionately affects approximately half of incarcerated adults. There has been little research into the perceptions related to incarcerated adults experiences to remain opiate free upon release from jail. This descriptive phenomenological project helped elucidate this matter by understanding the lived experiences of five adults who had undergone opiate use treatment while incarcerated, were released, and re-used opiates. The nurse investigator conducted face-to-face interviews with these participants. Seven open-ended questions related to their perceptions and multiple probing questions resulted in rich, deep, and robust data which were analyzed by constant comparative analysis and coded into themes and subthemes. The revealed themes included: Anticipation of Staying Opiate Free, Difficulties in Staying Opiate Free, Benefits to Being Opiate Free, and Needed to Remain Opiate Free. The findings revealed that these incarcerated adults experience a plethora of perceived challenges to remaining opiate free upon release. An increased understanding of motivations, behaviors, and perspectives can better inform nursing practice and target strategies aimed at bringing about behavioral change by mitigating the myriad of vulnerability factors and perceived challenges to remain opiate free after release.

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.