Prescription Opioids and Driving Risk: A Comparison by Dose and Medical Use and Misuse

The purpose of the pilot study is to compare the patterns of prescription opioid use, individual characteristics, driving behavior, and driving outcomes of three groups: high-dose (>50mg morphine equivalent per day [MME]) medical users, high-dose prescription opioid misusers, and low-dose (<50MME) opioid users. Non-medical opioid users will not be included due to the: small scope of the study and extra resources required to recruit this group; and because a primary intention of the proposed study is to identify opportunities to intervene in conjunction with opioid prescribing. Participants will be recruited at pain clinics and asked to complete an online survey and to provide permission to obtain their Michigan driver history and electronic medical records.

The specific study objectives will be to characterize: 1) Driving risk behavior and driver history outcomes; 2) Patterns of prescription opioid use/misuse and Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use/misuse/abuse; 3) Interactions between driving and opioid use/misuse that represent elevated risk; and 4) Individual beliefs, attitudes and psychological characteristics related to prescription opioid use and driving risk.  These will be examined overall and in comparison across groups.  Sex differences will also be examined. Hypotheses are: 1) participants in the high-dose misuse group will report more driving risk behavior and have driver histories records that include a greater number of crashes and moving violations compared to the other two groups; 2) patients who misuse prescription opiates will also have greater AOD compared to the other two groups, which will not differ from each other; 3) the two high-dose groups will report more interactions of opioid use and driving that reflect high risk compared to the low-dose group, and that patients who misuse prescription opioids will have the greatest driving risk; 4) greater risk taking, sensation seeking, and involvement in other injury-risk behaviors will predict higher odds of misusing prescription opiates in this sample of patients receiving treatment for pain.  Sex differences will also be examined.

Principal Investigator: 
C. Raymond Bingham
Title: 
Research Professor
Department: 
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Timing: 
2015 - 2016
PI Title: 
Research Professor, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute