According to a study, the majority of opioid prescriptions go to those with mental health disorders. 16 percent of Americans have one mental disorder or the other. It is to this 16 percent that most of the opioid prescriptions go to.  Now, just imagine that more than 50 percent of these prescriptions go to these people, and that is way too much. What about the rest of the people with other conditions like chronic pain that need the same prescriptions? It means there is not enough for everyone in the market.

Where do 60 million opioid prescriptions go?

Matthew Davis and colleagues said that about sixty million prescriptions annually go to the adults with mental health disorders like depression, stress, anxiety and others. The percentage of people who get the opioid prescription for such disorders is higher than that of any other diagnosis that needs an opioid prescription.

To understand the link between mental health and pain is hard but their study suggests that most of the opioids are given to the mental health disorder patients in order to prevent addiction of opioids.  He goes ahead to say that caring health care providers should know that this population is using a lot of opioids and recommend therapy.

The researchers examined information on more than fifty-one thousand non-institutionalized adults from Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in 2011 and 2013.

Since anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses, the researchers focused on these two conditions and the codes used to identify people with mental health disorder. They then described an opioid user as a person who takes two or more opioid prescriptions in a calendar year.

People with mental health disorders get opioids faster

The team found that the likelihood of a mental health disorder patient to get opioid medicine is four times that of other adults in need of it. This has continued even after regulating, those with mental health disorders had twice the advantage.

Higher opioid use among those with mental health disorder is seen in every variable. Those with chronic pain have lesser percentage compared to that of mental health disorders.

Brian Sites, an anesthesiologist, suggests that there might have some kind of relationship between patient and provider. He reasoned that pain is psychological and anxiety worsens it hence these patients must feel a lot of pain.

He also added that it could be because there is no assessment of the patient to see if he is asking for drug just to for his own pleasure. There are regulations for prescribing opioid and self- satisfaction should not warrant a prescription.

Brady said that the mental illness patients are likely to commit suicide and hence opioid should use more for pain management. Giving people with mental illness opioid would mean that you need a person who can perform adult CPR just in case. Please note that this study was limited because it focused only on prescription opioids and no illegal medical use.