Opioid Misuse and Serious Mental Illness in the Past Year Among Adults Aged 18 and Older: 2015 NSDUH
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 11.7 million adults have misused opioids in the past year (4.8%) and 9.8 million adults had a serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year (4.0%). The misuse of opioids includes any use of heroin in the past year and the misuse of prescription pain relievers in the past year. SMI is defined in NSDUH as adults who in the past year have had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria and has resulted in serious functional impairment substantially interferes with major life activities.1
Little is known about the co-occurrence of opioid misuse and SMI among adults. In 2015, 1.5 million adults aged 18 or older with a past year SMI have misused opioids in the past year. These 1.5 million adults with both SMI and opioid misuse represent 0.6 percent of all adults. Another way of thinking about 1.5 million people with co-occurring SMI and opioid misuse is to look at what percentage they represent among people with SMI and among people who have misused opioids in the past year. About 1 in 8 (13.0%) past year opioid misusers also had SMI in the past year. Alternatively, about 1 in 7 (15.6%) adults with SMI in the past year were past year misusers of opioids.
1. NSDUH SMI data is based on DSM-IV criteria but it cannot be used to estimate the prevalence of specific mental disorders in adults, such as major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders. SMI estimates are based on a predictive model and are not direct measures of diagnostic status.