Further validation of an opioid risk assessment tool: the Brief Risk Interview

J Opioid Manag. Sep-Oct 2014;10(5):353-64. doi: 10.5055/jom.2014.0226.


Opioids remain a common method of treating chronic pain conditions despite some controversy. In an effort to address some of the risks of opioid medications, opioid risk assessment has become a standard of care when opioids are used to treat a chronic pain condition. Research to date has found that clinical interviews may be superior to currently available patient-completed written questionnaires in identifying patients likely to engage in medication aberrant behavior. The Brief Risk Interview (BRI) has been developed as a risk assessment tool that has the sensitivity of a clinical interview while eliminating the need for the lengthy process of an interview. The current study compared the predictive ability of the BRI with two commonly used patient-completed risk assessment tools: the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) and the Screener and Opioid Assessment for Patients with Pain-Revised (SOAPP-R). After clinical staff at a pain practice underwent a 1-hour training program, 124 consecutive new patients were evaluated using the BRI, ORT, and SOAPP-R. Follow-up data found that the BRI was a good predictor of medication aberrant behavior and offered better sensitivity and better overall predictive accuracy than the ORT or the SOAPP-R. Overall, it appears that the BRI is a valid risk assessment tool that, after a brief training session, can be used effectively by pain clinicians. Further study is needed in other practice settings and with larger sample sizes.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods*


  • Analgesics, Opioid