Prescription Drugs Turn Deadly: CDC Says 18 Women Die Every Day from Painkillers

The issue of prescription drug addiction is a serious one and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified what it has described as a "growing public health epidemic." Director Dr. Thomas Frieden led a study looking at the extent of prescription drug overdose, which focused on this issue. It found that even though men are more likely than women to die from an overdose, 18 women die in this manner each day.

By the year 2010, 40% of overdose fatalities were women. Most victims were between the ages of 45 and 54 and had taken a dose of prescription drugs. About 70% of overdoses are ruled accidental, and 12% are classified as suicides.

Women as Painkiller Consumers

The study's authors theorized that women are more likely to leave their doctor's office with a prescription for a painkiller than men. They also felt that women are more likely to

use prescription pain medications on a chronic basis and to get them for higher doses than men. Part of the reason is that women are more susceptible to medical conditions that cause chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, than men. Women are also more likely to be given medications to treat mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which can interfere with pain relievers and may have fatal consequences.

Women More Likely to Doctor Shop

CDC officials also said that women are more likely to "doctor shop" and visit more than one health care professional to get prescription medications than men. This is one of the signs that prescription drug use has moved past normal use into a problem that would be better served by a prescription drug rehab center. Other warning signs of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Increased usage over time
  • Personality changes
  • Continued use after initial complaint should have resolved
  • Social withdrawal
  • Spending large amounts of time obtaining prescriptions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, or sight
  • Defensiveness


A woman (or a man) who is experiencing these types of symptoms should consider seeking professional help from a prescription drug program. Medications prescribed by doctors can be abused and create addictions which are just as dangerous as the ones involving street drugs. The type of substance involved is irrelevant. An addiction is an addiction, and a person who is in its grasp needs the right type of treatment to get well and move into sobriety.

Prescription drug rehab centers are staffed by knowledgeable, caring experts who understand the best way to help their clients, no matter what their substance of choice is.