Women more likely to overdose than men
The Center for Disease Control has found that 18 women die every day in the U.S. from opiate pain pill overdoses.
It appears the knowledge about prescription drug abuse has increased, however, so have the incidents of abuse and overdose ... especially among women.
According to The New York Times, womens deaths from prescription opiates (vicodin, oxycontin, hydrocodone) have risen five-fold since 1999. The CDC reports a significant increase in painkiller abuse in women, but this increase has not been seen in the opposite sex.
Working in a large metropolitan jail, I often see individuals who started abusing opiates after being prescribed (or over-prescribed) the medications by their doctors. They soon need increased amounts of the medication to maintain the same euphoric feelings after tolerance to the substance has been created. Buying opiate pain pills on the street can be very expensive. A 2011 CNN report found that vicodin sold for between $5 and $25 per pill on the street and one pill of oxycontin went for between $50 and $80.
Once the costs become unimaginable, individuals may turn to the cheaper alternative, heroin, which tends to drastically intensify their addiction.
There are a variety of possible explanations for this gender disparity. However, the significance of these numbers is that addiction and overdose from opiates is on the rise. We need to be aware of this issue and get help for ourselves or others if we suspect prescription drug misuse.
Teal Bohrer, Lake Oswego, has a masters degree in addiction counseling from Lewis & Clark College and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling education from Oregon State University. She sees individuals for a variety of issues at her local private practice.Add a comment