A cross-sectional survey of the knowledge of mental health professionals around opioid analgesic dependence (OAD)

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 20 May 2019


A cross- sectional survey of the knowledge of mental health professionals around opioid analgesic dependence (OAD)


Professionals attending an addictions themed conference in the North West participated in the survey which carried a series of questions around identification of OAD and the long term effects of opioid analgesia use


The survey was completed by 38 participants. The majority of them were Consultant Psychiatrists (73%), most of them working in General Adult Psychiatry (60.5%) and 10.5% were Forensic Psychiatrists. 81.5% considered a person to have OAD, if they were requesting opioid analgesia whilst already on an opiate substitute treatment (OST), whilst the same percentage of participants also considered a person with poorly managed pain requesting more pain killers to have OAD. 34% did not consider endocrine changes and 21% felt that hyperalgesia was not a long term effect of opioid analgesia use. 57.8% of the professionals felt that a patient with OAD should be treated in an integrated services between involving Addictions services (including mental health services), specialist OAD Clinic,  pain clinic and primary care, whilst 26% thought that they can be managed by addictions services and a specialist OAD clinic.


We have highlighted the need for increasing awareness around OAD amongst mental health professionals and feel that this need will be greater in primary care and acute hospitals. The participants also thought, a specialist OAD clinic will better meet the needs of this client group. There is also stigma around patients on OST experiencing pain and requesting analgesia.


Prosper Chinedu Obioha- Specialty Trainee, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust Cathryn Kemp- CEO, Pain Killer Addiction Information Network (P.A.I.N.) Charity

Conflicts of interest:

Funding Sources: N/A

YA and CK attended advisory board meetings, delivered or chaired Continuing Professional Development events and received travel or accommodation reimbursement from Indivior


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Dr Yasir Abbasi