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The Exchange

Examinining The Link Between Mental Illness and Opioid Use

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A new Dartmouth study finds people with mental illness are much more likely to use opioids, despite the risks these drugs pose especially for these patients. Possible explanations, according to the study: People suffering from depression may feel pain more acutely, prompting empathetic doctors to write more prescriptions.


  • Peter Evers - President & CEO of Riverbend  Community Mental Health. He also serves as vice president for behavioral health at Concord Hospital.
  • Dr. Brian Sites -  Co-author of a joint study by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and the University of Michigan that found an unexpectedly high percentage of opioids are going to people with mental health disorders.  He is also an anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.    
  • Dr. Gary Sobelson -   Family medicine doctor with Concord Family Medicine.
  • Dr. Quentin Turnbull -  Psychiatrist with the  Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.