McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare have teamed up to develop a new tool that will help identify patients who have a high risk of relapsing into opioid use.
Lead author, Dr. Zena Samaan says the five minute questionnaire was tested over time with patients undergoing methadone treatment.
It was also checked for accuracy using a standard urine test.
Researchers eventually narrowed in on a set of questions that they found could predict a patients illicit drug use for up to three months.
“If people have chronic pain, if people use cocaine or cannabis, if people have social conflicts they are more likely not to do well in treatment and continue to use opioids among other drugs” Samaan said.
The questionnaire is being offered as an easy, cost effective solution for clinics and places where a urine test may not be available.
Samaan says it provides an opportunity for early intervention not only when it comes to opioids and the potential for overdose but other areas such as mental health.