Drugs kill people and a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals that prescription painkillers are causing the deaths of women in this country at an alarming rate.
Read the new July 2013 report entitled “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses – a growing epidemic especially among women,” online at no charge.
CDC Considers This to be an Epidemic – Prescription Painkillers are Dangerous and Deadly, Especially to Women
According to CDC data, since 1999 there has been a 400% jump in the number of deaths of women from prescription painkillers. As CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explained on July 2, 2013, when the new findings were released:
“Prescription drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed in women. Mothers, wives, sisters and daughters are dying from overdoses at rates that we have never seen before. We are also seeing not only deaths but a great increase in the number of emergency department visits for drug misuse or drug abuse, including opiate overdose or misuse. These are troubling numbers, when I look across all of the different health problems we track at CDC, there are very few getting worse and even fewer affecting so many different parts of the population and age groups of population. The increase in opiate overdoses and deaths is directly proportional to the increase in prescribing of painkillers, opioids are increasing to an extent that we would not have anticipated and that could not possibly be clinically indicated. These are dangerous medications and they should be reserved for situations like severe cancer pain where they can provide extremely important and essential palliation. In many other situations, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Prescribing an opiate may be condemning a patient to lifelong addiction and life threatening complications. While men are more likely to die of a prescription opioid overdose, the gap between men and women have been narrowing.
“In other words, unfortunately women are catching up in this regard. Since 1999, the percentage of deaths has been greater or percentage increase in deaths has been greater for women, 400 percent and men 265 percent. And the prescription opioid problem affects women in different way than it affects men. Women are more likely to have chronic pain to be prescribed painkillers and other medications and be given higher doses and use them for longer time periods than men. In addition, it may be that this is because some of the most common forms of pain are more prevalent among women, more likely to have abdominal pain and migraine and muscular skeletal pain than men are. And women have particular challenges with prescription opioids.”
Americans Take 80% of the World’s Supply of Prescription Pain Meds – and Many are Dying from These Drugs
Dr. Frieden said that these kinds of pain medications “…are dangerous medications and they should be reserved for situations like severe cancer pain where they can provide extreme important and essential palliation.” More women are dying each year in America from prescription painkiller overdoses than from car accidents or cervical cancer.
Compare that with the reality that Americans are taking 80% of the world’s painkillers each year, according to testimony given before Congress, which amounts to 110 TONS of prescription painkillers annually.
These are not illegal, back street drugs like heroin or cocaine. These are drugs manufactured by drug companies and available to the public only through a doctor’s prescription.
Middle-aged women are the ones who are dying most often from overdoses of prescription pain medicine. Especially popular to be given to female patients and causing lots of deaths, according to the CDC Report, are well-known drugs like:
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Laws Will Help Stop This Epidemic
The CDC held a press conference and issued its report this month with recommendations to doctors and hospitals on how to fight against this tragic epidemic, where mothers and aunts and grandmothers and daughters and sisters are dying because of taking pain medication.
This hopefully will help the situation.
However, the truth is that there will be another avenue taken in the fight to stop this heartbreak: victims of these painkiller medications who will often be the grieving family members who have lost a loved one to a prescription pain medication will be courageous enough to take on the big pharmaceutical companies and the doctors and the hospitals involved in these situations and demand that they be held accountable. How? They will file civil lawsuits based on things like product liability and wrongful death and seek justice through personal injury laws.
And they will ask these profit centers to justify how they are selling and dispensing 80% of the world’s painkiller medication to the American public in the face of an overdose death epidemic. It is a very good question.