Validation of a screener and opioid assessment measure for patients with chronic pain

Pain. 2004 Nov;112(1-2):65-75. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2004.07.026.


There has been a need for a brief assessment tool for providers who treat chronic pain patients to determine potential risk of abuse when prescribed opioids for pain. The purpose of this study was to develop and begin the validation of a self-administered screening tool (Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain, SOAPP) for chronic pain patients considered for long-term opioid therapy. A consensus of 26 pain and addiction experts was obtained on important characteristics of chronic pain patients that predict future medication misuse using concept mapping. A 24-item SOAPP (version 1.0) was developed based on this consensus and was administered to 175 patients who were taking opioids for chronic pain. After 6 months, 95 of these patients were re-evaluated. Validation of the SOAPP was conducted by identifying those patients exhibiting aberrant drug-related behavior as determined by any of the following: a positive score on the Prescription Drug Use Questionnaire (PDUQ) interview, positive urine toxicology screen, and/or ratings by staff as to whether patients had a serious drug problem. Of the original 24 items, 14 SOAPP items appeared to predict subsequent aberrant behaviors. Coefficient alpha for these 14 items was acceptable for a short scale (0.74). Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis yielded an area under the curve of 0.881 (P<0.001), suggesting adequate sensitivity and specificity for a screening device. These reliability and predictive validity results suggest that the SOAPP is a promising step toward screening risk potential for substance misuse among persons with chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Measurement / standards*
  • Pain Measurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Analgesics, Opioid