A. Pattern of pathological use: inability to reduce or stop use; intoxication throughout the day; use of opioids nearly every day for at least a month; episodes of opioid overdose (intoxication so severe that respiration and consciousness are impaired).
B. Impairment in social or occupational functioning due to substance use: e.g., fights, loss of friends, absence from work, loss of job, or legal difficulties (other than due to a single arrest for possession, purchase, or sale of the substance).
C. Duration of disturbance of at least one month.
For more information, see Substance Abuse
Legal difficulties may arise as a result of behavior while intoxicated with opioids or because an individual has resorted to illegal sources of supply. Persons who abuse opioids typically use these substances much less often than do those with dependence and do not develop significant tolerance or withdrawal. When problems related to opioid use are accompanied by evidence of tolerance, withdrawal, or compulsive behavior related to the use of opioids, a diagnosis of Opioid Dependence, rather than Opioid Abuse, should be considered.