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Is The Opioid Epidemic Worse For Women?

The opioid epidemic has claimed an estimated 59,000 lives in overdose deaths in 2016, a 7,000 count increase from 2016. Many of those who die of opioid overdose are women.

Women Receive More Narcotic Prescriptions

According to a study by ASAM, the American Society For Addiction Medicine, women are more likely to be prescribed a narcotic prescription painkiller. Based in kinds of morphine, these opioid painkillers are powerful and dependency forming. The potency of prescription painkillers is largely believed to be one of the contributing factors in the opioid epidemic. This study found that women use their opiate prescription painkillers for longer amounts of time than men do. Long term use of prescription opioids is another factor which  has been discovered in researching the foundation of the opioid epidemic. Longer amounts of time using the potent painkillers create deeper connections of dependency in the brain. For women, however, that length of time may not be as long as men. Women develop a chemical dependency on addictive substances, especially opioids, more rapidly than men do.

Women Don’t Receive As Much Pain Relief

Georgia State University and their Neuroscience Institute recently found that women do not respond to pain relief through opiate medications the same way men do. The study, published in Journal of Neuroscience, found that women process pain differently than men do. Women experience chronic pain conditions more often than men. When women are prescribed opiate medications, which the previous study indicated happens more often, they do not experience pain relief as effectively. Women, the study discovered, need nearly twice as much morphine as males to receive a pain relief that would be considered comparable in its efficacy. Proven to be more susceptible to addiction, women who consume higher amounts of morphine based medications more frequently are more likely to develop those addictions, which they are statistically proven to do.

Women Can Recover

Some studies have indicated that women will have stronger and more frequent cravings than men, which leads to relapse more often. For this reason, long term, gender specific care is essential for women in their treatment and recovery experience. After detox and residential inpatient or other levels of care like intensive outpatient, women can look to a transitional care home like Villa Tranquil to help them integrate independence and responsibility into their lives while continuing to receive clinical support. Our beautiful home in Jupiter Farms, Florida, offers compassionate care which encourages women to become their authentic selves, living serene lives of sobriety. For information on our program for women, call us today: 214-799-3080