Opioids' Growing Toll on Women.


A government report reveals that, since 1999, opioid overdose deaths among women have increased 471%, compared to 218% among men, while heroin-related deaths among women increased at more than twice the rate than that of men. Another study shows a disproportionate rise in opioid-related hospitalizations among women.

In addition to the dramatic surge in prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths, the U.S. Office on Women's Health (OWH) reports that females had a "startling" 850% increase in synthetic opioid overdose fatalities over the same period. Another group of researchers examined opioid-related hospitalizations since 2005 and found a 75% increase among women versus 55% among men. Furthermore, women had a higher rate of opioid-related inpatient stays in 33 of the 45 states included in the study.

The OWH analysis highlights a couple of key trends regarding women's patterns of opioid use: females are more likely than males to suffer from chronic pain, and subsequently use prescription opioid pain relievers for longer periods and in higher doses; and women who use opioids progress to dependence more quickly and experience greater cravings than men.


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