Prescription drug overdoses spike among women - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Prescription drug overdoses spike among women

Posted: Updated:

Prescription overdoses among women are on the rise in the united states. Between 1999 and 2010, the number of women dying of prescription drugs rose 400 percent.

It has to do with real pain, physical and emotional, for many women. As for a cure, that's going to take a lot more coordination than the medical community has now.

"I was 24 and I started taking lortab and percocet," said Lauren Cirel.

It started as a toothache, a visit to the dentist, and a prescription for pain medicine. Cirel never suspected that would lead to a three-year addiction.

"I took that and I knew that I liked them. And then later on when I took them for non pain purposes I enjoyed them much better," said Cirel.

She entered the drug rehab program at The Foundry and is now drug free. Ironically, she's now a dental assistant.

She believes she would have died before age forty had she not received help. According the CDC, the rate for drug overdose is highest among women between the ages of 45 and 54.

Dr. Mark Stafford, the associate director of medical services as Bradford Health Services, feels most of the women struggling with addiction started using drugs to handle stress.

"You've probably heard of the sandwich generation where you're taking care of your children. You're also taking care of your parents. And we see that more and more,"said Stafford.

Stafford says he began to notice a trend five years ago.

"Doctors started prescribing more and more opiates, and as that has occurred you could almost predict that this was going to happen," he said.

With more doctors willing to prescribe pain killers, the CDC says women are more likely to "shop around" until they get a prescription.

"We do know that women go see the doctor more often and they're more vocal about what they want," said Stafford.

The CDC also says women are prescribed pain killers for longer periods of time. Dr. Stafford says what's really happening is more than one doctor is handing out prescriptions.  

"We have a lot of sub-specialists. So it's not uncommon for the patients to go see their rheumatologist or arthritis specialist. He gives them to lortab, then they go see their orthopedic doctor and he gives them lortab, and then their primary care physician and he gives them lortab and they don't talk to each other," he said.

In 2010, drug overdoses among women were attributed to more than 15,000 deaths, many of which were considered intentional. In the same year 34 percent of women who committed suicide used pain killers to do so.

"I think in the bigger picture we're going to have to have more data bases. I think on a more fundamental level we need to address the patients' needs. They're in emotional pain. And they're in spiritual pain," said Stafford.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...