It was objectively defined as present when a patient had > or = to 4 opioids prescriptions by > or = equal to 4 providers in the 12 months before emergency department (ED) evaluation.
Predictors for drug seeking behavior: patients that requests for opioid medications by name (nearly twice a frequently than other ED patients), multiple visits for same complaint (at 2 ½ times the level of other ED patients), and the subjective rating of symptoms out of proportion to examination.
This information is from studies in a high income country, but it may be also useful for countries in other socio economic levels.
See reference for more information.
Weiner SG et al. Clinician impression versus prescription drug monitoring program criteria in the assessment of drug-seeking behavior in the emergency department. Ann Emerg Med. 2013 Oct;62(4):281-9.