Aberrant drug-related behaviors: A qualitative analysis of medical record documentation in patients referred to an HIV/Chronic pain clinic

Academic Article


  • Background: Due to rising rates of opioid addiction and overdose among individuals on chronic opioid therapy, aberrant drug-related behaviors (ADRBs) are an important and challenging issue. Our objective was to qualitatively investigate the documentation of ADRBs in the medical record. Methods: Manually abstracted provider notes from an HIV primary care clinic were analyzed using content analysis methods. Results: Categories of ADRBs identified included patients requesting opioids, obtaining nonprescribed opioids, and becoming emotional about opioids. We also identified several types of provider language used when documenting ADRBs, including purely descriptive language and emotional language such as labeling, frustration, and concern, and responses such as setting conditions for opioid prescription and action-oriented language. Conclusions: The impact of including emotional language in the medical record is unknown. Development of instruments that can be used to facilitate ADRB documentation, as well as evidence-based approaches to addressing ADRBs, is needed.
  • Published In

  • Pain Medicine  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Merlin JS; Turan JM; Herbey I; Westfall AO; Starrels JL; Kertesz SG; Saag MS; Ritchie CS
  • Start Page

  • 1724
  • End Page

  • 1733
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 10