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Chronic Pain, Chronic Opioid Addiction: a Complex Nexus


Over the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in the prescribing of opioids, with associated increases in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. This article reviews the evidence for the effectiveness and risk of developing an opioid use disorder (OUD) in those patients treated with chronic opioid therapy (COT) for chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP). Rates of development of OUD range from 0–50 %, and aberrant drug related behaviors (ADRBs) are reported to be 20 %. Health care providers must properly assess, screen, and carefully monitor patients on COT utilizing evidence-based tools.

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The author would like to acknowledge Dr. Kavita Babu for her contributions to this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Edwin A. Salsitz.

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Salsitz, E.A. Chronic Pain, Chronic Opioid Addiction: a Complex Nexus. J. Med. Toxicol. 12, 54–57 (2016).

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  • Chronic pain
  • Addiction
  • Toxicology
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Drug dependence