Prescription Painkiller Addiction: Why Are More Women Overdosing?

Prescription Painkiller Addiction: Why Are More Women Overdosing?

By Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health
Published: July 9, 2013

Drug Overload

Prescription painkiller addiction is no longer a disease that happens only to men. Women are struggling with it, too. Even more alarming, new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more and more women are dying from overdose. That number is four times greater than it was in 1999.

Why Do Women Abuse Prescription Drugs?

Women may be reaching for prescription drugs because of the change in the American household. A lot of women are single parents. The stress of being the sole provider for the family or raising children alone may be driving them to abuse prescription drugs. Some said that highs make them feel attractive. Every woman wants to feel beautiful, and especially if a partner isn’t in the picture, they may use prescription drugs to give themselves that boost. There are women who feel strong and productive when they use. When you have to bring a child to baseball practice; run this one to a friend’s house; help another with homework; fix something because it isn’t working; go food shopping and clean the house, you want to feel like you can do it all.

Why Are More Women Overdosing?

Older women may be using, and then overdosing, because they have easy access to prescription painkillers. Doctors prescribe opioids to many of these women for chronic pain that comes with age or for conditions like fibromyalgia. If they take a higher dose than prescribed, they have a greater risk of overdose because women don’t usually have as much body mass as men. Addiction and physical dependence to opioids/opiates can develop quickly when taking more than is prescribed. In addition, doctors prescribe antidepressant and antianxiety drugs to more women than men. This combination of psychotherapeutic drugs and pain medication can increase the risk for overdose.

Overdose Deaths

Since 1999, the women’s death rate from prescription painkillers has risen 400 percent. For men, it increased 265 percent. Men still take the lead in the number of painkiller overdose deaths, but women are following close behind. Prescription painkillers claim the lives of about 42 women in the United States each day. More of them die from opioid overdose than cervical cancer or homicide. Most women who abuse opioids are in their 20s and 30s, but the ones who have a higher overdose death rate are 45 to 54 years old. In 2010, the CDC found that white women had the highest death rate. Asians and Hispanics had the lowest. Don’t make prescription painkiller overdose an option. If you use because of stress, there are healthier ways to handle the pressure. If you use to raise your self-esteem, remember that you are beautiful and strong—you don’t need a high from a drug to tell you that. You can recover. Start by going to our drug detox center in Florida. All you have to do is call Lakeview Health at 866.704.7692 . We will verify your insurance and assess your addiction to qualify you for one of our drug rehab programs.