While opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, its impact on women and families has also skyrocketed. Not only is the addiction to this dangerous drug a serious health issue for women, but the effect that it has on families can also be catastrophic. Fortunately, women are also one of the groups most likely to succeed in addiction treatment.

Women Opioid Addiction

The Centers for Disease Control Reports that more than 18 women die each day in the U.S. from a prescription painkiller overdose. While men still have higher overdose rates than women, the gap between the two has narrowed significantly over the last two decades.

In 1999, women accounted for 26 percent of opioid overdose deaths. By 2015, the share of women in these tragedies has increased 33 percent while the totals have skyrocketed. There were 8,050 opioid-related overdose deaths in 1999, and that number soared to 42,249 in 2015, an increase of 425 percent. The rate of increase among women was a shocking 568 percent compared to 380 percent for men.

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. A 2010 study concluded that women were more likely than men to be prescribed opioids and for longer periods.

A more recent study echoes these findings, with the conclusion that women ages 40 to 59 are receiving the most, and strongest, prescriptions for opioids. This study also concludes that this same group is particularly vulnerable when given opioids post-surgery, with about 13 percent becoming persistent users. The same study reports that 22.8 percent of women ages 35 to 44 who undergo knee replacement surgery become persistent opioid users.

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. Also, women may be more susceptible to anxiety and depression due to the overwhelming task of work and taking care of family simultaneously. These responsibilities can ultimately lead to strain and additional issues within the family, particularly when self-medicated with opioids.

Young and expectant mothers are also struggling with opioid addiction. The American Medical Association reports that prenatal opioid use increased from 1.19 per 1,000 hospital births to 5.63 between 2000 and 2009, a 373.10 percent increase. In 2012 alone, there were more than 20,000 infants born with withdrawal symptoms. 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.

Addiction treatment

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 because you are accustomed to putting others first. What many fail to realize is that the drugs have come before work, family, and even children and will continue to do so until you get the help you need. The good news is that studies show that women who do seek treatment have higher recovery success rates than their male counterparts.

If you have an opioid use disorder, it is time to put yourself first and get the addiction treatment you need and deserve. Having you healthy again is what your loved ones deserve as well. The Recovery Village offers comprehensive opioid addiction treatment programs that include medication-assisted therapy, inpatient and outpatient care, family therapy, and aftercare. Contact us now to learn about admissions and take the first step in your recovery.

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Women and Opioids: The Family Fallout
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