While opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, its impact on women and families has also skyrocketed. Not only is opioid addiction a serious health issue for women, but it can also put an intense strain on families and loved ones. Fortunately, there are many options and alternatives for women seeking addiction treatment.
Opioid Addiction in Women
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than 18 women die each day in the U.S. from a prescription painkiller overdose.
The CDC reported in January 2019 that opioid overdose rates rose 492 percent among women ages 30 to 64 from 1999 to 2017. While men still have higher overdose rates than women, the gap between the two has narrowed over the last two decades.
The CDC’s study highlights that in 1999, there 2.6 opioid-related deaths per 100,000 women aged 30 to 64. By 2017, there were 15.5 deaths per 100,000 women in the age group. Overdose rates for synthetic substances like fentanyl saw a rise of 1,643 percent.
The CDC reports that women between the ages of 25 and 54 have the highest risk in these cases, with women between ages 45 and 54 being the group most likely to die from a prescription painkiller overdose. An article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) concluded that women were nearly twice as likely as men to be prescribed opioids and for longer periods. Aging women in particular have increasingly used prescription opioids to treat chronic pain, post-surgery pain and other conditions.
The Growing Impact on Families
While it may not apply universally, the American Society of Addiction Medicine says that women have a higher vulnerability to pain than men. Women who work and take care of families may also be more susceptible to anxiety and depression. These responsibilities can ultimately lead to strain and additional issues within the family, particularly when self-medicated with opioids.
Young and expectant mothers also struggle with opioid addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that every 15 minutes, a baby is born with opioid withdrawal. In 2014, an estimated 32,000 infants were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Opioid addiction among women has also led to an increased strain on the foster care resources in many states, with more children being removed from homes.
The Good News for Women Seeking Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you are a woman struggling with opioid addiction, it may be a difficult decision to get help. Many women put other first while letting their health and wellbeing suffer. For many women living with an addiction, drug use can become an all-consuming coping mechanism that impacts work, family and even children. Despite the unique challenges that women face, help is available. Studies show that women who seek treatment for substance use disorder have higher long-term recovery rates than their male counterparts.
If you are living with an opioid use disorder, it is time to put yourself first and get the addiction treatment you need and deserve. You deserve to be healthy. The Recovery Village offers comprehensive opioid addiction treatment programs that include medication-assisted therapy, inpatient and outpatient care, family therapy and aftercare. Contact a representative now to learn about admissions and take the first step in your recovery.
Asam.org. Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures. Accessed February 28, 2019.
Drugabuse.gov. Dramatic Increase in Maternal Opioid Use and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. January 2019. Accessed February 28, 2019.
Drugabuse.gov. Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use. July 2018. Access February 28, 2019.
Hedgegaard, Holly, M.D. Miniño, Arialdi M., M.P.H. Warner, Margaret, PhD. Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2017. November 2018. Accessed February 28, 2019.
Serdaveric, Mirsada. Striley, Catherine W. Cottler, Linda B. Gender Differences in Prescription Opioid Use. NCBI PMC. July 1, 2018. Accessed February 28, 2019.
Simon, Scott. The Foster Care System Is Flooded With Children of the Opioid Epidemic. NPR. December 23, 2017. Accessed February 28, 2019.
Womenshealth.gov. Final Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women. July 19, 2017. Accessed February 28, 2019.
VanHouten, Jacop P., MD, PhD. Rudd, Rose A., MSPH. Bellesteros, Michael, Phd. Mack, Karen A, PhD. Drug Overdose Deaths Among Women Aged 30–64 Years — United States, 1999–2017. CDC, January 11, 2019. Accessed February 28, 2019.