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How ORN is Responding to the Co-Occurrence of Serious Mental Illness and Opioid Use Disorder

July 26, 2021 10:06 AM | Judy Pfeiffer (Administrator)

How ORN is Responding to the Co-Occurrence of

Serious Mental Illness and Opioid Use Disorder

Past Year Serious Mental Illness and Opioid Use Disorder

Among Adults Aged 18 or Older: 2019

[Source: 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Detailed Tables. Data extracted on 7/8/21.]

In 2019, over 14 million adults in the United States reported experiencing past year serious mental illness (SMI) or opioid use disorder (OUD). Of those with OUD, nearly half (40.2%) also reported having SMI. The relatively high co-occurrence of SMI among those with OUD is an important consideration for providers, as treatment utilization is poor among those with co-occurring disorders. Prior research has shown that fewer than one in three individuals with co-occurring OUD and SMI receive substance use and mental health treatment (Novak, Feder, Ali, & Chen, 2019).

How Has ORN Responded?

From March 2018 to June 2021, the Opioid Response Network (ORN) responded to 84 specific requests for education and training related to SMI. This resulted in over 140 activities, delivered face-to-face and virtually, for a range of mental and behavioral health providers. Activity objectives encompassed awareness, education and training strategies related to a number of relevant topics, including medications for OUD, harm reduction, and recovery in this population.

This data spotlight is part of a series brought to the Impact Bulletin by ORN partner organization, RTI International.

Novak, P., Feder, K. A., Ali, M. M., & Chen, J. (2019). Behavioral health treatment utilization among individuals with co-occurring opioid use disorder and mental illness: Evidence from a national survey. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 98, 47-52. 

Mark Your Calendars: Upcoming ORN Trainings

Social Work Chat Live: Kratom - Benefits, Risks and Harm Reduction Considerations (July 26, 2021)

Funded by ORN, the Boston Medical Center's Office Based Addiction Treatment Program is running a series of Live Social Work Chats for social workers. This month, Dan Hogan will be leading a discussion of Kratom - Benefits, Risks and Harm Reduction Considerations. To register for this month's session and future Zoom sessions, visit:

To read the full news letter, forward to colleagues or add to your newsfeed use this link: View as Webpage

How can ORN help you? Visit to submit a request for opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorder training and/or education. 401-270-5900


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