The Opioid Abuse & Risk Screener (OARS)™ is a psychological assessment developed for pain management specialists and other opiate and controlled substance prescribing physicians. The OARS identifies patients with risk factors for opioid abuse, and delivers an immediate, summative report to the physician prior to consulting with the patient.  The OARS screens for Psychopathology: 1. Depression & Anxiety (psychopathology).  Unrecognized and untreated can interfere with successful rehabilitation.  2. Psychopathology also increases pain intensity and disability.  Exacerbates treatment non-compliance.

  • 43 Questions
  • 2 Scales: Emotional Lability (EL; α=0.943), Aberrant Behavior (AB; α=0.904)
  • Stratifies patients by overall opioid risk level
  • Also reports on depression, anxiety, and “red flag” responses to several critical items
  • HIPAA Compliant
  • Reimbursable to practitioners

Quickly assess any patient while they are waiting in your waiting room area.  Results are clinical and instantaneous.  Know before you walk into an exam room exactly what your are dealing with.  Have a better overall picture of your patient's physical, emotional and mental needs.  Be aware of key factors you should know before prescribing any kind of pain or psychotropic therapy.  

Without any staff involvement generate an additional revenue stream through this billable assessment tool while your patients are in the waiting room.  Average Reimbursement Rate is $40.00 per assessment, consider the numbers your clinic could generate and have a quality tool at the same time.




We provide free I-Pads for your clinic that will simply be connected to your WI-FI.  Your results will appear instantaneously on you web portal with a LOW, MODERATE OR HIGH RISK evaluation.  Your assistant can simply print it off and hand it to you before you walk into the exam room.  That is it, all your staff does is hand the I-Pad to the patient.  

Recommendation -

Before initiating chronic opioid therapy (COT), clinicians should conduct a history, physical examination and appropriate testing, including an assessment of risk of substance abuse, misuse, or addiction.”

 American Academy of Pain Medicine Opioids Guidelines Panel



  • Pain patients are heavy users of healthcare services and present with multiple and unexplained symptoms.
  • Undetected psychological issues often contribute to the severity of illness, which can lead to abuse of the therapeutic drugs employed in addition to further raising healthcare costs.
  • The mean annual direct healthcare costs for opioid abusers are more than 8 times higher than for non-abusers ($15,884 versus $1,830, respectively)
  • 40% of individuals with chronic pain will seek medical help for pain this year. That’s over 60 million patients in the U.S.
  • 20% of those 60 million chronic pain patients will become addicted to their prescribed analgesics.
  • National statistics report that as many as 35% of pain patients are high risk for abuse.
  • To put it differently, approximately 1 in 50 chronic pain patients will become addicted to prescribed pain medications this year, and 1 in 25 will be at high risk of abusing these same drugs.
  • Other studies have shown that over 5,500 new people (age 12+) begin abusing prescription opioids EVERY DAY!
  • It’s easy to see why the CDC has declared opioid abuse an epidemic, why state and federal regulations emphasize the need for assessment to stratify risk, and why so many physicians are searching for effective solutions with a reasonable implementation time!


Q:  What is the OARS?
A:  OARS stands for the Opioid Abuse and Risk Screener. It is 43 item, electronic assessment comprised of two major scales, emotional lability and aberrant behavior, reporting an overall opioid abuse risk score to the provider. Depression and anxiety are also reported, along with major critical items shown by research to be contributing factors to opioid risk levels.  Reliability and validity scores are very strong.

Q: Why is a risk assessment so important? The national guidelines for opioid use recommend a risk stratification be completed. But why?
A: A risk assessment provides information about the patient that is necessary for the medical provider to have before prescribing opioids or creating a treatment plan. Most physicians do not have the expertise, training, or time to assess psychological and social issues or the potential for opioid misuse. In addition, the OARS provides a second opinion which increases the physician’s due diligence.

Q:  Why is it important for a risk assessment tool to include information on depression and anxiety?
A: Research shows that 50% of pain patients have depression and 35% have some form of anxiety. To effectively treat a patient, the medical provider should have this information. In addition those with depression and anxiety are less compliant to what the medical provider prescribes, feel pain more acutely, and have a lower improvement rate.

Q: How was the OARS developed? What do you mean evidence based?
A:  Dr Henrie-­‐Barrus, along with other physicians, nurses and psychologists, have been working on the assessment for approximately 5 years. It was developed according to research and clinical expertise and has undergone various validation studies. Currently there are two papers being reviewed for publication on the validity of the OARS and several studies in the works. Evidence based means that it is a valid and reliable assessment tool that has undergone peer reviewed studies.

Q: Who should use the OARS?
A: 80% of physician consults are related to pain. Two thirds of those who consult a doctor have some form of depression and/or anxiety. The OARS can be used by all doctors who want opioid abuse potential information or information on depression and anxiety. It is particularly effective with those administering opioids.

Q: What makes the OARS such a valuable tool to any physician?
A: It saves time, provides a second opinion and includes psychological/social variables that the medical personnel may have little knowledge, training or expertise in. In addition, the OARS is incorporated seamlessly into the clinic’s/physician’s protocol and EMR. The OARS provides a 2nd opinion on areas of concern that will help the medical provider prescribe responsibly.  The research shows that 20%  of individuals entering treatment for pain, end up addicted to opioids.  The OARS report can be used to help the doctor explain the reasoning behind different treatment options as well.