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Depressed and Anxious Patients Receive More Than Half of All Opioid Prescriptions

Story at-a-glance -

  • In 2014, 1.2 million Americans ended up in the emergency room with an opioid-related side effect; in 2015, 33,000 died from an opioid-associated drug overdose
  • Adults with depression and anxiety receive 51 percent of all opioid prescriptions in the U.S.; 19 percent of the 38.6 million Americans diagnosed with a mental health disorder use opioids, compared to 5 percent of the general population
  • Women are being prescribed opioids during pregnancy and after delivery, creating drug dependent mothers and infants; 23 percent of 1.1 million pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid filled a prescription for an opioid in 2007

By Dr. Mercola

According to Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids kill patients more frequently than any other medication used for nonfatal conditions. Back pain has been identified as one of the most common reasons for receiving a prescription for a narcotic pain reliever. Disturbingly, more than half of all opioid prescriptions in the U.S. are given to patients suffering from anxiety and other mental health disorders.


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