Opioids Are Overprescribed in People with Mental Disorders
Each year in the United States, doctors write about 115 million prescriptions for opioid pain medications. Results of a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth suggest that approximately 60 million of these opioid prescriptions, or 51 percent, are written for adults with mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Only 16 percent of the overall population has a mental illness, according to Matthew Davis, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing,. Among the 38.6 million adults in the U.S. with diagnosed mental disorders, more than 18 percent are prescribed opioid medications each year, while only 5 percent of adults without mental health disorders are prescribed opoids.
These are alarming statistics because people with mental health issues may be more vulnerable to the effects of opioids and more susceptible to opioid dependence and abuse, say the researchers, whose study will be published online in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine on July 6.