Supportive Care

Opioid Misuse Risk: Implementing Screening Protocols in an Ambulatory Oncology Clinic

Lynsey Teulings

Kathleen Broglio

opioid, pain management, risk assessment, substance abuse, cancer-related pain
CJON 2020, 24(1), 11-14. DOI: 10.1188/20.CJON.11-14

With morbidity and mortality related to opioid use continuing to increase, clinicians need to better understand the risk for opioid misuse in patient populations. Screening for opioid misuse risk has not been routinely adopted as a standard practice in clinical settings. A pilot study was performed to determine the feasibility of screening for future opioid misuse risk using the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) in an ambulatory oncology clinic. Twelve patients in this sample scored in the moderate- to high-risk range for aberrant behavior, and 8 patients reported a personal history of substance abuse, indicating a need for opioid misuse risk screening in populations of patients with cancer. Because it is easy and quick to use, the ORT may be a feasible tool to incorporate into standard practice.


  • Screening for opioid misuse risk may help clinicians to identify individuals at a greater risk for future aberrant behavior related to opioid use.
  • By screening for opioid misuse risk, clinicians can provide appropriate pain management for patients with cancer.
  • As part of their oncology clinic workflow, RNs can implement and administer the ORT to patients who are prescribed medication for cancer-related pain.
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