Most opioid prescriptions go to people with a mental illness

Most opioid prescriptions in the U.S. are written for a person with a mental illness, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

People with a mental illness account for only 16 percent of the population, but they receive 51.4 percent of all opioid prescriptions annually, according to the study.

Of course, people with a mental illness are a vulnerable population, and the study results suggest that more attention needs to be paid by doctors to a patent's overall mental status when prescribing painkillers.

The study results also suggest that focusing on this population might be a useful direction for research and treatment in lessening the harm of opioid addiction.

Click here to read the study.