The opioid risk tool is a common screening tool used to predict which individuals may develop aberrant drug-related behaviours when prescribed opioids for chronic pain. It is a short questionnaire that assesses the risk factors that are most predictive of development of a substance-abuse disorder. These risk factors include personal or family history of alcohol or other drug abuse, and other mental illnesses. (Smoking may also be a predictor of more frequent use of opioids, although this risk factor is not included in the opioid risk tool.)
The opioid risk tool should be used to screen all patients for whom treatment with an opioid is being considered. For patients who score high risk, prescribers should consider seeking advice from a pain medicine or addiction medicine specialist before beginning treatment with an opioid.
Prescribers should contact Medicare Australia’s Prescription Shopping Information Service to check whether moderate or high-risk scoring patients have been identified to have received medicines in excess of medical need.
Prescribers may also contact the department for history of permits issued or notifications of drug dependency or other aberrant drug-related behaviours received in relation to patients they intend to treat.