Effect of a Scenario-tailored Opioid Messaging Program on Parents’ Risk Perceptions and Opioid Decision-making

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Poor parental understanding of prescription opioid risks is associated with potentially dangerous decisions that can contribute to adverse drug events (ADE) in children and adolescents. This study examined whether an interactive Scenario-tailored Opioid Messaging Program (STOMP) would (1) enhance opioid risk perceptions and (2) improve the safety of parents’ decision-making.

Materials and Methods:

In total, 546 parents were randomized to receive the STOMP versus control information and 516 completed the program. A baseline survey assessed parents’ opioid risk knowledge, perceptions, and preferences for pain relief versus risk avoidance (Pain Relief Preference). Parents then made hypothetical decisions to give or withhold a prescribed opioid for high-risk (excessive sedation) and low-risk (no ADE) scenarios. The STOMP provided immediate feedback with specific risk and guidance information; the control condition provided general information. We reassessed knowledge, perceptions, and decision-making up to 3 days thereafter.


Following the intervention, the STOMP group became more risk avoidant (Pain Relief Preference, mean difference −1.27 [95% confidence interval, −0.8 to −1.75]; P<0.001) and gained higher perceptions of the critical risk, excessive sedation (+0.56 [0.27 to 0.85]; P<0.001). STOMP parents were less likely than controls to give a prescribed opioid in the high-risk situation (odds ratio, −0.14 [−0.24 to −0.05]; P=0.006) but similarly likely to give an opioid for the no ADE situation (P=0.192).


The STOMP intervention enhanced risk perceptions, shifted preferences toward opioid risk avoidance, and led to better decisions regarding when to give or withhold an opioid for pain management. Scenario-tailored feedback may be an effective method to improve pain management while minimizing opioid risks.

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