New research led by University at Buffalo psychiatric nursing researcher Yu-Ping Chang found motivational interviewing, a form of behavioral counseling, is an effective tool at curbing prescription opioid abuse. The study, “The Effect of Motivational Interviewing on Prescription Opioid Adherence among Older Adults with Chronic Pain,” was published in a recent issue of “Perspectives in Psychiatric Care.”
Prescription opioids – which includes pain medications such as morphine, Lortab and codeine – are abused by 1.9 million Americans and cause nearly two deaths every hour from overdose or respiratory depression. Nearly 75 percent of opioid addiction patients switch to heroin as a cheaper source of the drug, according to data from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
“Older adults are at high risk for complications resulting from prescription opioid misuse,” Chang told Medical News Today. “As the baby boomer generation ages and more patients are prescribed opioids, abuse is likely to become an even greater problem.”
The researchers examined patients 50 years of age and older who experienced chronic pain and were rated at risk for opioid misuse based on screening tools. The participants underwent motivational interviewing for one month, which consisted of an in-person meeting followed by weekly phone sessions with counselors, and later received a one month follow-up test.
Before and after the intervention, participants completed screening surveys for risk of opioid misuse, alcohol abuse, levels of motivation, self-efficacy, depression and anxiety, chronic pain intensity and treatment satisfaction.
In addition to reducing the risk for opioid misuse, participants reported an increase in confidence, self-efficacy and motivation to change behavior, and a decline in depression, anxiety and the intensity of chronic pain.
The success of the low-cost intervention is a positive sign in the battle against prescription opioid abuse in primary care, Chang said.
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