Pain Predicts Dropout From Substance Use Treatment

Hugh Farrior, Scott Teitelbaum, Ben Phalin, Amanda Janner, Laurie Solomon, Kent Mathias, Jason Hunt, Jeff Boissoneault, Ben Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This project aimed to characterize the relationship between physical pain experienced at time of entry to residential treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) and the frequency of treatment dropout. We hypothesized that both endorsement of recent pain and higher magnitude of endorsed pain intensity would be associated with higher dropout rates. We further hypothesized that these effects would be exacerbated among patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). METHOD: Participants included 1,095 individuals in residential treatment for SUD. Data were collected within 24 hours of treatment entry. Analyses were conducted using logistic regression with dropout as the dependent variable. Dropout was operationally defined as leaving treatment against medical advice or being discharged from treatment because of use of substances. Pain (including endorsement and intensity) was the primary independent variable in all analyses. Analyses included demographic and affective covariates and included both main effects of OUD and interaction terms between OUD and pain. RESULTS: Pain endorsement was associated with greater frequency of dropout (odds ratio [OR] = 1.49, p = .04). Higher levels of pain intensity predicted increased rates of dropout (OR = 1.13, p < .01). In contrast with our hypothesis, no interactions between OUD and pain were observed. CONCLUSIONS: These results underscore the import of integrating pain monitoring and pain interventions as core components of treatment for SUD. Our findings are highly consistent with a growing literature recognizing the impact of pain across a constellation of important treatment outcomes and provide novel data strongly suggesting that pain predicts early cessation of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2024

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Pain Predicts Dropout From Substance Use Treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this