Treatment research with opioid-dependent populations has not traditionally distinguished between those dependent on prescription opioids versus dependent upon heroin. Evidence suggests there is a substantial subpopulation of individuals with opioid dependence resulting largely or exclusively from prescription opioid use. Because this subpopulation may respond to treatment differently from heroin users, a method for discriminating DSM-IV opioid dependence due to prescription opioid use would provide more precision when examining this population. This paper describes an innovative method using a currently available diagnostic instrument, to diagnose DSM-IV opioid dependence and distinguish between dependence resulting from prescription opioids versus dependence upon heroin.
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