Among individuals leaving residential detoxification, chronic pain is associated independently with long-term substance use after detoxification.
Pain in detoxification alcohol users and addicts is common. Over two years 16% experience persistent pain and 54% intermittent pain.
Persistent pain may increase the chances of relapse in detoxified heroin addicts 400%; in heavy alcohol abusers by 220%; and cocaine addicts by 200%.
The key independent variable was pain status:
persistent pain (moderate to very severe pain at all available interviews),
no pain (mild pain or less at all available interviews) and
intermittent pain (all others).
There were four outcomes of interest:
self-reported use of any substance;
heroin/opioide use; heavy alcohol use; and
24 months after detoxification.
Addressing pain as a treatable chronic condition among adults receiving detoxification presents a potential opportunity to improve long-term clinical outcomes and warrants further intervention research.
Mary Jo Larson, Michael Paasche-Orlow, Debbie M. Cheng, Christine Lloyd-Travaglini, Richard Saitz, Jeffrey H. Samet. Persistent pain is associated with substance use after detoxification: a prospective cohort analysis; Addiction 102 (5), 752–760.