Opioid dependence has become a major health care issue. Pain management of invasive surgical procedures with opioids may potentially contribute to this epidemic. We sought to determine the association of opioid-prescribing patterns with chronic opioid use. We retrospectively reviewed all patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedures during 2016 at a single institution. Prescribing patterns and medication usage were compared between opioid-naïve and opioid-exposed patients (patients with reported opioid use within 30 days prior to surgery). Chronic opioid dependence was defined as opioid usage beyond 90 days after discharge. We included 284 opioid-naïve and 46 opioid-exposed patients. Although overall prescribing patterns were similar between groups, a higher proportion of opioid-exposed patients were prescribed a total dose >150 mg of oxycodone per discharge prescription (15.2% vs 4.9%; P = 0.024), and had a higher proportion of refills within 30 days (28.3% vs 10.9%; relative risk [RR] 3.2 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.5-6.8]; all P < 0.05). The incidence of chronic opioid dependence was higher among opioid-exposed patients compared to opioid-naïve patients (21.7% vs 3.2%; RR 8.5 [95%CI: 3.2-22.3]; P = 0.001). Ongoing opioid use 3 months after CABG is present in 21.7% of opioid-exposed patients and 3.2% of opioid-naïve patients. These preliminary findings highlight the burden of prescribing patterns on the overall opioid epidemic and the need to develop alternative pain management strategies. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.