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Bonar EE, Ilgen MA, Walton M, Bohnert AS. Associations among pain, non-medical prescription opioid use, and drug overdose history. The American journal on addictions. 2014 Jan 1; 23(1):41-7.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Recently, use of prescription opioids (POs) has increased; non-medical PO (NMPO) use is linked to overdose. NMPO use is common among individuals prescribed opioids for pain, and those in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment with pain could be at increased risk for unintentional overdose due to NMPO use. We examined associations between pain, NMPO use, and overdose among SUD treatment patients. METHODS: Among 342 patients at a residential SUD treatment center, logistic regression examined the association of overdose with pain, adjusting for substance use, suicide attempts, and demographics. RESULTS: Pain was positively related to NMPO use. Heroin use, suicide attempts, pain, and NMPO use were positively associated with overdose; but NMPO use attenuated the pain-overdose relationship. CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between pain and overdose among substance users may be, in part, explained by the association between pain and heavy NMPO use.