CDC: Prescription painkiller deaths among women grew by 400 percent in last decade
The number of women dying from prescription drug overdoses grew by 400 percent from 1999 to 2010, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That compares to an increase of 265 percent in the number of men who died from similar overdoses during the same period.
The new CDC statistics show that women between the ages of 25 and 54 are more likely than other age groups to need treatment for prescription painkiller abuse. Women between the ages of 45 and 54 have the highest risk of dying from a prescription painkiller overdoses, according to the CDC.
“This rise relates closely to increased prescribing of these drugs during the past decade,” the report states.
Officials in Washtenaw County have pointed to prescription painkillers as one of the main reasons for an increase in heroin usage in the area. Opioid painkillers are highly addictive and are often expensive, leading addicts to search for cheaper alternatives such as heroin.
Men are still more likely to die from a prescription drug overdose — more than 10,000 men died of such overdoses in 2010, compared to 6,600 women — but concern is growing about women using the drugs.
According to the CDC, women are more likely to have chronic pain that requires a prescription, may become dependent more quickly than men and may be more likely to engage in “doctor shopping” — the practice of going to multiple doctors to get pills.
Prescription painkillers are defined in the report as opioid or narcotic pain relievers. Examples such as Vicodin, OcyContin, Opana and methadone are email@example.com or you can follow him on Twitter.