Chronic pain increases risk for opioid overdose among individuals with opioid use disorder. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between recent overdose and whether or not chronic pain is active. 3,577 individuals in treatment for opioid use disorder in 2017 or 2018 were surveyed regarding recent overdoses and chronic pain. Demographics from the 2017 Treatment Episode Data Set, which includes all U.S. facilities licensed or certified to provide substance use care, were used to evaluate the generalizability of the sample. χ2 tests and logistic regression models were used to compare associations between recent overdoses and chronic pain. Specifically, active chronic pain was associated with opioid overdose among people in treatment for opioid use disorder. Individuals with active chronic pain were more likely to have had a past month opioid overdose than those with no history chronic pain (adjusted OR = 1.55, 95% CI 1.16–2.08, p = 0.0003). In contrast, individuals with prior chronic pain, but no symptoms in the past 30 days, had a risk of past month opioid overdose similar to those with no history of chronic pain (adjusted OR = 0.88, 95% CI 0.66–1.17, p = 0.38). This suggests that the incorporation of treatment for chronic pain into treatment for opioid use disorder may reduce opioid overdoses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0271379
JournalPloS one
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - Nov 2022


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