Drugs continue to be an issue for millions of Americans. However there is growing concern for a curtain demographic – women.
Everyday in the U.S 42 women die from an overdose of some kind of narcotic – and nearly half of those deaths are from prescription painkillers. These drugs are so addictive that quitting painkillers becomes almost impossible without help, and only adds to the dependence.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report of figures that are quite alarming. Since 1999 the rate at which women are dying from prescription painkillers has increased by 400%.
In 2012, prescription painkillers caused 6,600 overdose deaths, and contributed to thousands more deaths. That number is 4 times as many as heroin and cocaine deaths combined.
As can be assumed, the increase in deaths is directly correlated to the increase is the drugs usage. Prescription painkillers are prescribed and distributed at an alarmingly high rate. Dr. Tom Frieden says that “the overwhelming number of these deaths… more than 70% were unintentional.
Here are some statistics released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
– a woman is admitted into the emergency room every three minutes for prescription drug overdose.
– women between the ages of 25-54 are the most likely the be admitted to an ER, but women over the age of 54 are most likely to die from painkiller overdose.
Why is this hitting women so hard?
The CDC reports two correlations. First – women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. Issues like fibromyalgia, lupus, and migraine headaches are all more common in women. Add on top of that prescription drugs are flat out – being over prescribed.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny is the president of Physicians for Responsible Opiod Prescribing.
“You see many women with chronic non-cancer pain, and opiods are being overprescribed,” he says. “When you overprescribe to people who shouldn’t be using these drugs, it’s dangerous. Even in patients that don’t get addicted, they are dangerous.”
Dr. Frieden hints on some possible solutions to the problem. Ultimately it will take a collective effort and change in mind state.
After all, he says, “Stopping this epidemic in women and men is everybody’s business. Doctors need to be cautious about prescribing and patients about using these drugs. Together we can turn this epidemic around. “