When people picture the face of the opioid epidemic, they likely imagine a young man shooting up heroin somewhere like an abandoned building. They probably do not think about their wives or mothers becoming addicted to an opioid. The startling truth is, that in the United States, the number of women dying from opioid overdoses has increased more sharply than the number of men.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 18 U.S. women die each day from an overdose of prescription pain killers. In 2015, women accounted for 33 percent of the opioid deaths. From 1999 to 2015, the number of women dying from an opioid overdose increased 568 percent compared to a 380 percent increase for men.
Women being prescribed more opioids
Opioids include more than just the illegal drug heroin. There are also the legal prescription drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and others. According to a recent study, women from the ages of 40-59 receive more opioid prescriptions than any other group. Women are also prescribed opioids at about twice the rate as men.
Some jobs allow more access to the drugs
Nursing can be a stressful job, and that coupled with easy access to opioids, makes Florida nurses a particularly vulnerable population. Though not all nurses are female, female Florida nurses outnumber men at a rate of 8.2 to 1. WFTV found in 2017, that more than 100 nurses were placed on restriction or suspension after being caught taking or stealing opioids from their place of work.
Depressed woman may turn to opioids
Other than increased access, women may be more vulnerable to opioid addiction because of issues with depression and anxiety. Often women are juggling relationships, family and a career. Too often, much of the burden of these responsibilities falls heavier on the shoulders of women.
If you know someone struggling with an opioid addiction or are struggling with a problem of your own, there are numerous resources available to you. Boca Raton has rehabilitation centers geared specifically toward opioid addiction. There is also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline, which is a free resource that can provide information or a referral to help with mental health or addiction issues.