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Middle-Aged U.S. Women And Prescription Drug Addiction

By now, most Colorado residents have likely heard some of the alarming statistics about the opioid addiction crisis that is affecting millions of individuals throughout Colorado and across our country.

Consider these sobering facts about opioid abuse in the United States:

  • Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S.
  • Since 1997, there has been a 900 percent increase in the number of individuals who use prescription opioids and heroin
  • 2012 statistics show that U.S. doctors wrote nearly 260 million opioid prescriptions - enough to provide every U.S. resident with their own bottle
  • In 2012, more than 2 million people in the U.S. were addicted to opioids

While much attention is focused on opioid abuse and the corresponding increase in the number of heroin addiction and overdose cases, the number of opioid abuse cases is quickly growing among a surprising demographic - middle-aged women.

Why Are Middle-Aged Women Especially Susceptible to Opioids?

Research and statistics indicate that women disproportionately suffer from more painful chronic conditions. A 2012 study conducted by Stanford University found that women are overwhelmingly more likely to be diagnosed with the following painful conditions and injuries:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Musculoskeletal and back pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Osteoarthritis

While some are quick to attribute higher incidences of pain in women to the fact that women are both more likely to visit a doctor and to report pain, scientists believe that biological differences exist in how men and women experience and tolerate pain.

The Rise Of Opioid Abuse Among U.S. Middle-Aged Women

In an effort to treat and provide relief to the millions of women who suffer from one or more of the painful chronic conditions mentioned above, starting in the 1990s, doctors began freely prescribing opioid drugs like Oxycodone, Oxycotin and Percocet to millions of U.S. women.

Consequently, from rural communities to affluent suburbs, throughout the U.S. large numbers of women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s unknowingly became addicted to opioid drugs. Statistically, women are more likely to be prescribed higher doses of opioid medications and for longer periods of time. Additionally, research indicates that women are more likely to take these drugs for nonprescription reasons including to treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

The Serious Consequences Of Opioid Addiction And Abuse

Women, who become addicted to opioids, jeopardize their own health and very lives as the rates of accidental overdose among U.S. women continue to rise. Additionally, there are a number of scenarios that can result in an individual's criminal arrest and conviction including:

  • Prescription drug fraud
  • Unauthorized use of a prescription drug
  • Unauthorized distribution of a prescription drug
  • Prescription drug overdose
  • Drugged driving

If you are a woman who is struggling with and facing criminal charges related to a prescription drug addiction, it's important to consult with a defense attorney who can represent your best interests throughout every step of your case. In addition to fighting for the dismissal or reduction of criminal charges, an attorney can also assist in helping you obtain the help you need to overcome your addiction problem.

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