According to a study in Spine, published by Wolters Kluwer, people suffering from chronic low back pain (CLBP) are more supposedly to use forbidden drugs comprising cocaine,marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin, compared to people without back pain.

Furthermore according to the recent study conducted by Dr. Anna Shmagel and colleagues of University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, chronic low back pain patients with a history of using illegal drug are more probable to have an existing prescription for opioid analgesic drugs i.e. pain-relieving drugs. Although it’s not definite which course the link runs, the forms of illegal drug use may have connotations for decisions about recommending opioids for patients with chronic low back pain.

The researchers studied survey responses from more than 5,000 adult US citizens, aged 20 to 69, who responded to a nationwide characteristic health research, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2010, in the United States.

The study definition of CLBP was met by almost 13 percent of respondents who had existing back pain for three months or more. The secret survey also questioned respondents about their habit of using illicit drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin.

The survey concluded suggesting that low back pain was interconnected to higher amounts of usage of illicit drug. Nearly 49 percent of adults suffering from CLBP declared that they had at any time used illegal drugs, in comparison to 43 percent of the respondents without CLBP. In the CLBP group, percentage of present illicit drug use (i.e. within the span of past 30 days) was also found to be higher – 14 percent as against nine percent.

All four particular drugs in the study were more often used by participants suffering from CLBP. Percentage of lifetime usage was about 22 as against 14 percent for cocaine, 46.5 as against 42 percent for marijuana, 9 against 5 percent for methamphetamine, and  5 against two percent for heroin. When adjusted for other aspects, respondents with CLBP were more than twice as probable to report the usage of heroin and methamphetamine.

The results of the study also implied a connection between illegal drugs and prescribed pain-relieving drugs amid patients suffering from CLBP. It was evident that participants who had once used illegal drugs were more expected to have a current prescription for opioid painkillers – 22.5 percent against 15 percent. It was also found that present illegal drug users were also more probable to have a prescription for opioid analgesics, even though that particular difference was not significant statistically.

Although, earlier researches have established that people with a history of usage of illicit drug are more likely to use the prescription opioids analgesics in a wrong way, this new study is one of the pioneer to put emphasis on degree of usage of illicit drug amongst US citizens with CLBP. And it is established that prescribed opioids are extensively used by CLBP patients, raising fears regarding misapplication, addiction, and accidental overdose.