Days with pain and substance use disorders: Is there an association?
OBJECTIVES: We investigated possible associations between pain frequency and the 5 most common substance use disorders: alcohol abuse/dependence, cocaine abuse/dependence, methamphetamine abuse/dependence, opioid abuse/dependence, and marijuana abuse/dependence. METHODS: We used data from the Rural Stimulant Study, a longitudinal (7 waves), observational study of at-risk stimulant users (cocaine and methamphetamine) in Arkansas and Kentucky (n=462). In fixed-effects logistic regression models, we regressed our measures of substance use disorders on the number of days with pain in the past 30 days and depression severity. RESULTS: Time periods when individuals had 1 to 15 days [odds ratio (OR)=1.85, P<0.001] or 16+ days (OR=2.18, P<0.001) with pain in the past 30 days were more likely to have a diagnosis of alcohol abuse/dependence, compared with time periods when individuals had no days with pain. Compared with time periods when individuals had no pain days in the past 30 days, time periods when individuals had 16+ pain days were more likely to have a diagnosis of opioid abuse/dependence (OR=3.32, P=0.02). Number of days with pain was not significantly associated with other substance use disorders. DISCUSSION: Pain frequency seems to be associated with an increased risk for alcohol abuse/dependence and opioid abuse/dependence in this population, and the magnitude of the association is medium to large. Further research is needed to investigate this in more representative populations and to determine causal relationships