Screening for addiction in patients with chronic pain and "problematic" substance use: evaluation of a pilot assessment tool

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1998 Dec;16(6):355-63. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(98)00110-9.


Assessing for the presence of addiction in the chronic pain patient receiving chronic opioid analgesia is a challenging clinical task. This paper presents a recently developed screening tool for addictive disease in chronic pain patients, and pilot efficacy data describing its ability to do so. In a small sample of patients (n = 52) referred from a multidisciplinary pain center for "problematic" medication use, responses to the screening questionnaire were compared between patients who met combined diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder and those who did not, as assessed by a trained addiction medicine specialist. Responses of addicted patients significantly differed from those of nonaddicted patients on multiple screening items, with the two groups easily differentiated by total questionnaire score. Further, three key screening indicators were identified as excellent predictors for the presence of addictive disease in this sample of chronic pain patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Analgesics, Opioid