Painkillers – Deadly Risk To Women
Overdoses of prescription painkillers have become one of the leading causes of death among women. More women now die from overdoses of prescription pills like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet than from cervical cancer, homicide, or street drugs such as heroin and cocaine, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. “We need to better understand how dangerous these drugs are,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden tells CBSNews.com. “These are really troubling numbers.” More men die from painkiller overdoses than women do, but the rate of death among women is rising much more rapidly—soaring 400 percent in a decade.
Women are more likely than men to experience chronic pain, and thus to receive painkiller prescriptions at higher doses and over longer periods of time. They’re also more likely to take antianxiety medications that can be lethal in combination with pain pills. “These are dangerous medications,” Frieden said. In many cases, he said, “the risks far outweigh the benefits.”
Also, the number of women ending up in hospital emergency rooms who have overdosed on opiod painkillers such as Vicodin and Oxycontin is also increasing. It’s uncertain just how many women had used medications they obtained illegally and how many were actually prescribed it. But studies have shown that the increase in deaths from drug overdoses directly parallels an increase in pain medication prescriptions.
Many of those who become addicted to prescription pain medications started taking the drugs not to get high, but to control pain – often back pain. The solution, then, may be to avoid taking the medications to begin with, an option many doctors neglect to offer to their pain patients. If you are suffering from chronic pain, it is more beneficial that you work with a knowledgeable health care provider to determine what’s really causing your pain, and then address the underlying cause.