- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2017

More than half of patients with opioid prescriptions also have some sort of mental health issue, according to new study by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the University of Michigan.

The study found that while only 16 percent of Americans have a mental health issue, that group receives more than half of all the opioids prescribed in the country, about 60 million prescriptions a year. Only 5 percent of adults without a mental disorder are likely to be prescribed an opioid medication.

Researchers said there was no clear link for why that may be the case, but think the cause may be related to pain tolerance. Physicians may see those with mental disorders as being less tolerant of pain and therefore in need of such medication at a higher rate.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, used a U.S. health survey from providers and facilities of prescription medication, health status and demographics for 51,000 adults from 2011 to 2013.


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