Never has a little girl said, “when I grow up I want to be a drug addict.” However women are the fastest growing users of heroin in the US and many lives are being lost to overdose. The shame associated with addiction is often the reason why many women do not seek help. These stories of addiction are all too common, yet still it is so difficult to reach out for help.
Do any of these stories of addiction sound familiar?
“I started taking painkillers after a car accident, I became addicted and over the course of two years I went from prescription pills to using heroin. My addiction caused me to lose my job, my husband and almost my life.”
“I was given a prescription for painkillers after I broke my ankle. I didn’t realize how quickly I became addicted. I was taking the medication prescribed by my Doctor and the next thing I knew I was using heroin. I felt ashamed and didn’t know where to go for help.”
“I am a wife and a mother. I serve on the PTA board, and I am addicted to painkillers.”
“I had taken oxycontin for over five years when I found out I was pregnant. I wanted to quit, I knew it was best for me and the baby, but I was not able to stop using.”
Did you know??
Women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription pain relievers, be given higher doses, and use them for longer time periods than men. Women may become dependent on prescription pain relievers more quickly than men.
48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses between 1999 and 2010, representing a 400% increase in overdose related deaths.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Prescription Painkiller Overdoses: A Growing
Epidemic, Especially Among Women. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available
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