This workshop will provide the latest information on why tobacco/nicotine use is often so intertwined with opioid use disorder. Nicotine and opioid addictions are mutually reinforcing (they enhance and support each other’s effect on the brain) for a variety of reasons. Tobacco/nicotine use has an impact on how an individual experiences pain and treats painful conditions. It is also a strong predictor of opioid misuse. Nine in ten individuals in treatment for opioid use disorder are also tobacco/nicotine users. In this session we will explore the biological, psychological, and social connections between tobacco/nicotine use and pain, addiction, and recovery. Nicotine and opioids impact the same neuropathways in the brain, which is why nicotine may enhance the “feel good” properties of opioids. This is also why quitting tobacco/nicotine use is associated with long-term abstinence following treatment for opioid use disorder.
MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services & AdCare Educational Institute, Inc.