Malpractice News

July 15, 2013

Prescription drug abuse on the rise for U.S. women

An alarming prescription drug trend has recently been pinpointed by U.S. researchers. They have found that, “The rate of fatal overdoses of prescription painkillers and other drugs among U.S. women quadrupled between 1999 and 2010.” This sharp rise is especially surprising because abuse of prescription medicine has generally been associated with males. These days, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that “42 women in the United States die each day from prescription drug overdoses.”

Prescription drugs outstrip car crashes

This problem has become so prolific that it actually has out-distanced women’s death rates in car accidents. All told, 48,000 women died in the 11 year period researchers looked at. There were also many women who didn’t die from an overdose, but did visit the emergency room to treat symptoms of a drug overdose.

Doctors should prescribe opioids carefully

Doctors think this increase has to do with the more common prescription of opioid painkillers, like Oxytocin and Vicadin. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said, “The increase in opioid overdoses and opioid overdose deaths is directly proportional to the increase in prescribing.” He also said that though these drugs can be useful when prescribed for people dealing with extreme pain, “in many other situations, the risks [to the patients] far outweigh the benefits. Prescribing an opioid may be condemning a patient to lifelong addiction and life-threatening complications.”

During this same time period, the likelihood of men dying from drug overdose has also increased, but only by 265 percent compared with 400 percent for women. If you or someone you know may be suffering from painkiller addiction, they can call 1-800-662-HELP.


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