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Women and the Opioid Epidemic

It is estimated that at least thirty-one women will lose their lives to opioid overdose every day. That is 217 women per week and just short of 900 women per month. Potentially, the opioid epidemic is claiming the lives of over 10,000 women per year. These numbers are astronomical. Research has found that women are prescribed opioids more often, get addicted more quickly, and can have a difficult time finding treatment.

She doesn’t look like a junkie

Could we really describe what a ‘junkie’ looks like? Our societal obsession with beauty and standards of beauty might tell us that women who are ‘beautiful’ could not be opioid addicts. Women who look worn, skin condition poor, hair falling out, teeth unkempt, might be the women we suspect of being ‘drug addicts’. What the opioid epidemic has taught us is that anyone might become addicted to the opioid drugs, at least those with a predisposition toward addiction. Of those hundreds of millions of possible people, many of the women who we do not think would fit the stigmatized stereotype of an addict or an opioid addict are indeed addicted, or they are losing their lives to the disease of addiction. They are mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, cousins, aunts, next door neighbors, restaurant owners, doctors, business owners, teachers, friends, foes, and more. Most importantly, they are humans, suffering from a progressive, chronic, and often fatal disease. They need our compassion, our attention, and our help.

Different kinds of opioid addiction

With the tens of thousands of men and women dying from opioid addiction every year, there are many who are recovering. Both the deceased and the recovering have a story to tell about how they became addicted to opioids. Many share the same journey, though the details are different. It started with an injury which led to a doctor prescribing them an opioid based narcotic painkiller like OxyContin, one of the most popular. Quickly, a tolerance developed and the painkiller no longer killed the pain. Doctors increased dosages or the patients began abusing the medications. A chemical shift took place and suddenly, they were dependent on opioids. When the painkillers were no longer enough, no longer available, or too expensive to maintain, they found themselves, in one way or another, with the opportunity to try heroin. Heroin is an opioid, a byproduct of the poppy plant of which the resin has undergone a double refining process. Heroin is significantly more potent and powerful than narcotic painkillers. The opioid epidemic saw a significant increase in overdose deaths due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, considered to be one hundred time more powerful than morphine, the opioid base of narcotic opioid painkillers.

 

If you are a woman struggling with an opioid addiction, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Asking for help is critical for saving your life. Villa Tranquil Recovery offers you a unique opportunity to continue your recovery after treatment in a safe, serene environment. Independently owned and operated by clinicians, we provide compassionate and authentic care. Call us today for information:  (866) 697-7573