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Is This Holy Grail For Opioid Epidemic? (Breaking News)


Use Among Mentally Ill May Be Key To Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic has reached massive proportions over the last few years.   Researchers and pundits searched for the key to why such a high use level among the US and World populations.

Brain Opioid Epidemic Mental Health
Wikimedia Commons – Patric Hagmann by was_a_bee.

Opioids dominated much of the Workers Comp pharmaceutical discussions for years.

I came across a research paper and associated article by the Kaiser foundation.  Mental illness affects 16% of the US population.   However, 16% of the population accounts for 51% of all opioid use.

The numbers mean that the population with a mental illness uses opioids at a rate  318% higher than the general population – wow!

One area the article focuses on is that alternative therapies should be the focus of pain reduction – behavioral intervention.

Study Executive Summary

Background: The extent to which adults with mental health disorders in the United States receive opioids has not been adequately reported.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of the noninstitutionalized U.S. adult population from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. We examined the relationship between mental health (mood and anxiety) disorders and prescription opioid use (defined as receiving at least 2 prescriptions in a calendar year).

workers comp opioid epidemic hydrocodone
Wikimedia Commons – Ben Mills

Results: We estimate that among the 38.6 million Americans with mental health disorders, 18.7%(7.2 million of 38.6 million) use prescription opioids. Adults with mental health conditions receive 51.4% (60 million of 115 million prescriptions) of the total opioid prescriptions distributed in the
United States each year. Compared with adults without mental health disorders, adults with mental health disorders were significantly more likely to use opioids (18.7% vs 5.0%; P < .001). In adjusted analyses, having a mental health disorder was associated with prescription opioid use overall (odds
ratio, 2.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.83–2.35).

Conclusions: 16% of Americans who have mental health disorders receive over half of all opioids
prescribed in the United States. Improving pain management among this population is critical to
reducing national dependency on opioids. ( J Am Board Fam Med 2017;30:000 – 000.)


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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