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(216) Pain and Addiction: Screening Patients at Risk

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Introduction: Addictive disease is a common co-morbidity in chronic pain patients [1]. 26% of patients on methadone treatment believed that prescribed opioids led to their addiction [2]. We report initial validation of a Screening Tool for Addiction Risk (STAR).

Methods: Questions based on prior studies of pain and addiction, addiction-screening tools [3,4], discussions with clinicians experienced in pain medicine and addiction, and our clinical experience were used to develop the STAR. After obtaining IRB approval, chronic pain patients completed the 14-item STAR questionnaire. 14 patients with chronic pain and history of drug addiction (DSM-IV Criteria) and 34 additional chronic pain patients completed the survey as part of their initial clinical evaluation. Patient responses were compared to determine which were questions accounted for statistically significant differences.

Results: Questions related to respondent classification of addict based on chi-square analysis and Fisher's exact test were: prior treatment in a drug rehabilitation facility (p < 0.00001), nicotine use (p < 0.0032), feeling of excessive nicotine use (p < 0.0007), and treatment in another pain clinic (p < 0.018). A factor analysis linked addiction to first three questions mentioned above. Question: “Have you ever been treated in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility?” had a positive predictive value of 93% for addiction. Responses to recreational substance use, alcohol abuse, recent anxiety or depression, unemployment, emergency room visits, family history of drug or alcohol abuse, multiple physicians prescribing pain medication, or a prior history of physical or emotional abuse were not different between either patient group.

Discussion: Screening for addiction is an important part of management of chronic pain patients. A history of treatment in drug or alcohol rehabilitation facility and questions related to cigarette smoking may be useful to screen for potential risk of addiction. Further investigations needed to validate results of this study.

Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Temple University Hospital

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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