Women and the Rise of Prescription Overdose Deaths

prescription-drug-overdoseJohn Belushi, Chris Farley, Jim Morrison and most recently, Cory Monteith. These are all names that likely come to mind when associating with a drug overdose. Each of these men succumbed to either heroin or cocaine with alcohol also being a major contributor.

As Americans are being prescribed more and more prescription medications, it’s no wonder we are seeing an increase in overdoses from these drugs. When we hear of celebrities dying from an overdose, it is most often from prescription medications.

Did you know one of the fastest growing segments of prescription deaths in the U.S. is that among women, specifically middle-aged women?

Before, the overwhelming majority of overdoses in the U.S. were men that overdosed on heroin or cocaine. However, in the past few years, 40 percent were women. More specifically, most were middle-aged women who took prescription painkillers.

This recent substantial increase in female overdose death rates is closely correlated to the rise in overall use of prescribed painkillers.

“Women are also more likely to be given prescriptions of psychotherapeutic drugs, like antidepressants and antianxiety medications, Dr. Volkow said. That is significant because people who overdose are much more likely to have been taking a combination of those drugs and pain medication.” – NY Times

We were all taught the dangers of illegal drugs growing up. But when a doctor prescribes a medication too often, the patient is not warned of the ease at which one can become addicted or dependant, or the dangers of mixing prescriptions.

If you suspect a family member or friend may have a problem with prescription medication, we can help. Bring what’s in the dark into the light and get the help they need.


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