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Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 May 10

Subst Use Misuse


Public Perceptions of Opioid Use for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain.


Solberg MA, Pasman E, O'Shay S, Friedrich F, Agius E, Resko SM


: Chronic non-cancer pain affects 20% of Americans. This is significantly impacted by the ongoing opioid crisis and reduced opioid dispensing. Public perceptions additionally shape pain management strategies. : This study explores public attitudes toward prescription opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. We aim to understand how public attitudes are influenced by the evolving opioid crisis and shifting opioid use patterns. : In Michigan, 823 adults participated in a Qualtrics survey on attitudes toward nonmedical and medical prescription opioid use. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with beliefs that doctors prescribe opioids for too long (Model 1) and chronic pain patients should transition to alternative treatments (Model 2). : About half (49.4%) of respondents believed doctors keep patients on prescription opioids for too long, while two-thirds (65.7%) agreed chronic pain patients should be tapered off medications. Knowing someone who misused opioids and perceptions of substance use (e.g. perceived risk of prescription opioid misuse, stigma toward chronic pain patients, perceived prevalence of prescription opioid misuse, and awareness of fentanyl) were associated with greater odds of believing doctors keep patients on opioids too long. Demographics (age and education), substance use histories and perceptions (e.g. perceived risk and stigma) were associated with greater odds of believing patients should be tapered off their medication. : These findings inform strategies to correct public misperceptions, emphasizing the importance of personal experience, perceived risks, and stigmatization of chronic pain patients. This insight can guide effective pain management for those with chronic non-cancer pain.