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Patients with opioid use disorder are much more likely than the general population to have a host of other health conditions, including hepatitis C, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.

That’s according to a new analysis from health care company Amino, which culled data from the claims of 3.1 million privately insured patients between 2014 and 2016. It calculated the frequency of a slew of health conditions — from back pain to binge drinking — in patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder. Then, it compared those rates to the general patient population.

Here’s what it found.


As the chart shows, patients with opioid use disorder are diagnosed with hepatitis C nine times as often as other patients, at least among the privately insured.

Cases of hepatitis C have skyrocketed as the opioid epidemic has spread: There were an estimated 30,500 new cases in the U.S. in 2014, nearly double the number of new cases in 2011. Most of those new cases are among people who inject drugs such as heroin.


Hepatitis C infections have increased particularly sharply among young people who live in rural areas of Appalachian states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Painkiller prescriptions for back pain were an early target in the efforts to curb opioid misuse and abuse — and for good reason. The analysis by Amino shows that “failed back syndrome” — a broad category that covers back pain after surgery — is seven times more frequently diagnosed in patients with opioid use disorder.

Earlier this year, the American College of Physicians reviewed the evidence on treating back pain and released a new set of guidelines. Its recommendation: Opioids should be a last resort for treating lower back pain, after every other treatment has failed. It recommendeds patients first try non-drug therapies such as exercise, massage, and yoga.

If those don’t work, the ACP told doctors to have patients pop an over-the-counter pain reliever and wait it out, noting that most back pain improves over time regardless of treatment.

The new report also adds to the evidence of the connection between substance abuse disorders and other mental health conditions.

Alcoholism is diagnosed eight times more often in patients with opioid use disorder, according to the new analysis. And patients with opioid use disorder are also more frequently diagnosed as having suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Many find it difficult to get the care they need. In part, that’s because people with mental health conditions and substance abuse problems are among the most likely to be uninsured.

Former President Barack Obama established a task force last year to tackle that problem. In October, the task force released a report urging mental health and substance abuse treatments to be covered like medical and surgical care.

  • Thanks for your report Megan. Was this in a journal article or a privately published report? Can I cite it in my writing on addiction and mh? Also, one of your tags says addition, instead of addiction. Best, Pat

  • I am looking to go to the training for substance abuse in the Sarasota area. I would like to register but I have accidentally erased my email. Please send the info of where and when it is so I can get registered.
    Thank you,
    Monika Trujillo

  • Yeah, ever since America decided to be the only country in the whole world to allow pharmaceutical companies to run free in the media, we will have this problem and we always will be prescribed it and now are overdosing and were complaining. On top of it, we have solutions like suboxone that have no overdose deaths, but nobody wants solutions, people want new theories and new grant money that’s what this bullshit is about.

  • Fantastic- Driven by analytic data. I would like to communicate with the group that, performed the study and generated the article. I am guiding a Behavioral health service which provides services to mature pain management clinic. Any further information or direction will assist in developing a curriculum, directed at mood stabilization and reducing the use of opiate-based medications by chronic pain management patient. I can be reached at [email protected]

  • Ok . Its time for the law abiding citizens that happen to be on oipiod treament to fight back .if we do nothing we will increase suicides in this country by 10 fold .why has everyone who thinks they are importanf ranting about oipiod addiction
    Gee .its been around since the finding of the drug .And again what should be against the law about states suing drug companies because why ? Does the state dstribute the money to the people that need it ..the states dont spend money to help.
    Remember the help.smoking money that states recieved help smoking in there state .what a piece of lies and smoke .. besides .doesnt alcohol still kill over 88.000 people.a year .including children and it doesnt take into account the innocent lives lost and destroyed famalies .my email is [email protected] . My name is Mark Elliott and i have been a chronic pain patient for 20 yrs with 38 surgeries . We have good people in goverment that will listen
    Email me your story please .we will join together and reverse this witch hunt ..we need to be heard as one
    .one people .one nation.
    One loud voice .join me please
    Sincerely ,
    Mark Elliott


  • Without cannabis, the opiate epidemic, and the antidepressant epidemic nobody is talking about, will not end. It’s beyond foolish watching doctors and lawmakers try to figure out how to stop this problem, while continuing to prescribe this poison, with the answer slapping them in the face. Ludicrous.

    • You boys are failing to see one major problem with authorizing the healing and natural / harmless drugs that actually cure people. ..
      Where is the billion dollar drug industries cut? Don’t think so. They’ll watch more. Millions of people die every day from their bogus drugs than ever give in and let people get healed from something that they are not making profit off of.

  • The overwhelming majority of addicts admitted to drug rehabs are what we call dual diagnosis, meaning they have a DSMV diagnosis of another mental disorder in addition to substance use disorder. Except for the rare place like Betty Ford or Austen Riggs the vast majority of rehabs are ill equipped to treat dual diagnosis patients. Even with the addiction piece alone there are only several thousand board certified addiction psychiatrists. A depressed addict entering rehab these days is likely to emerge 14 or 28 fays later as a depressed detoxed addict. Furthermore in NA you are discouraged from discussing anything other than your drug problem.

  • They are a host of other cocontributing factors that are often overlooked such as low thyroid heavy metal toxicity gut problems in the microbiom closed and injuries go to my website listed addiction go to my website holistic

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