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Conventional and Nonconventional Pain Treatment Utilization Among Opioid Dependent Individuals With Pain Seeking Methadone Maintenance Treatment: A Needs Assessment Study

Barry, Declan T. PhD; Beitel, Mark PhD; Cutter, Christopher J. PhD; Joshi, Dipa BA; Falcioni, Jean PhD; Schottenfeld, Richard S. MD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: June 2010 - Volume 4 - Issue 2 - p 81-87
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3181ac913a
Original Article

Objective and Methods: We surveyed 293 individuals seeking methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) for opioid dependence about pain, pain treatment utilization, perceived efficacy of prior pain treatment, and interest in pursuing pain treatment while in MMT.

Results: Among the 213 respondents reporting recent pain of at least moderate typical pain intensity, those with and those without a lifetime history of chronic pain endorsed similar rates of conventional (with the exception of past-week medical use of nonopiate medication), complementary, and alternative medicine utilization for pain reduction and a numerically smaller proportion endorsed last-week utilization of complementary and alternative medicine when compared with conventional medicine. The most frequently endorsed lifetime conventional pain treatments included opiate and over-the-counter medications, whereas the most frequently endorsed lifetime complementary and alternative medicine pain treatments included stretching, physical exercise, physical therapy, heat therapy, and prayer. Perceived efficacy of prior pain treatment but not interest in pain treatment was associated with chronic pain history status.

Conclusion: These findings may have implications for resource and program planning in MMT programs.

From the Department of Psychiatry (DTB, MB, CJC, RSS), Yale University School of Medicine; and The APT Foundation Pain Treatment Services (DTB, MB, CJC, DJ, JF), New Haven, CT.

Received for publication January 9, 2009; accepted May 1, 2009.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Declan T. Barry, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine, CMHC/SAC Room 220, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519-1187. e-mail:

Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K23DA024050 and K24 DA0045).

Presented, in part, at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, Quebec, Canada, June 17, 2007.

© 2010 American Society of Addiction Medicine