A new study by the CDC indicates that death rates related to prescription drug overdose have skyrocketed 400% among women (compared to 250% among men). The 11 year CDC study entitled “Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women – United States, 1999-2010″ showed that between 1999 and 2010, the rates of prescription drug overdose has grown precipitously, but especially among the women in the study.
“Although more men die from drug overdoses than women, the percentage increase in deaths since 1999 is greater among women. More women have died each year from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle–related injuries since 2007.” – CDC Report; “Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers and Other Drugs Among Women – United States, 1999-2010″
Healthcare providers are more focused than ever on prescription drug monitoring programs to track patients, the scripts themselves AND to monitor physicians that prescribe these drugs. Nobody doubts the benefits of pain management in (or outside) the home, but the overdose rates are alarming. In their conclusion, the authors state that “Public health interventions to reduce prescription drug overdose must strike a balance between reducing misuse and abuse and safeguarding legitimate access to treatment.” Easier said than done, but shining a light on this issue is really the first step. Step 2 is figuring out how to manage the changes necessary to prevent overdoses and death.
See below for your state’s (age-adjusted) death rates among women during 2009-2010 (courtesy of CDC).