Edlund et al identified risk factors for opioid abuse and dependence in veterans with chronic non-cancer pain. These can help to identify a high-risk population who should be evaluated more carefully. The authors are from Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, University of Arkansas, Arbor Research Collaborative for Health, RAND Corporation and University of Washington.

Patient selection: veteran with chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP)


Risk factors for opioid abuse and dependence:

(1) male sex

(2) younger age

(3) history of substance abuse (non-opioid, opioid)

(4) mental health disorder

(5) greater day supply of prescription opioids dispensed (> 210 days)

(6) marital status single/divorced/separated

(7) high number of physical health care visits per year (not mental health, not substance abuse)


The risk increases with the number of risk factors present.

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