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Increase In Womens Abuse Of Prescription Opioid Painkillers

Although men are at more risk of overdosing from prescription painkillers, women are quickly closing the gap. Deaths from prescription painkillers has risen dramatically in women since 1999.  The percentage increase of deaths was more than 400% among women compared to 265% among men from stats from 1999.  About 18 women die per day for prescription painkiller overdoses in the United States, which equated to more than 6,600 deaths in 2010 alone. This is a growing unrecognized epidemic in the United States according to the Centers For Disease Control.

Between 1999 and 2010, nearly 48,000 women have died from prescription painkiller overdoses. For every woman who dies of a prescription painkiller overdose, 30 more end up in the emergency room for abuse.  These numbers should shock and raise awareness in our society. This problem is growing at rapid rate. Without more treatment facilities and rehab facilities, these numbers are sure to increase.

The major question is, why are these numbers climbing so high? The rise directly relates to the increased prescriptions written by doctors during the past 15 years.  Healthcare providers can do their part by prescribing these medications for reasons they were created for, rather than loosely prescribing opiate painkillers for minor aches and pains.  Doctors need to understand that women between the ages of 25 and 54 are more likely to be brought in to the Emergency Room for misuse or abuse of prescription painkillers.  Women aged 45 to 54 are the highest risk of overdose deaths related to opiates. Non-Hispanic white and American Indian women have the highest risk of overdosing. Amazingly enough, prescription painkillers are used in 1 in 10 suicides by women.

When you look at the statistics provided by the CDC, it amazes me that more isn't being done to curb misuse and abuse of opiates. We are losing our family, friends, and neighbors to this epidemic. Most of these women are being prescribed these medications when it is not necessary. Giving people copious amounts of narcotics is not beneficial to our society.  We aren't talking about junkies, we are talking about moms, sisters, and daughters who are hooked on a powerful medication they were prescribed. Taking these medications over a long period of time changes their behavior and thinking. In a lot of these cases, these women begin to abuse the medications as their tolerance builds.  If you or one of your friends or family members are addicted to painkillers, please seek out help before it's too late.


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