People who are in the ER or recovering from surgery are the most likely to be prescribed opioids.
This is where someone is the most likely to be prescribed pain killers, which are all too often highly addictive opioids. This means they will likely be coming back for more pain killers and a cycle and addiction is born.
The face of an opioid addict is not what you probably think
When most people think of a drug addict, someone who has become addicted to prescription drugs, they typically think about some sketchy guy buying drugs in an alley or from street drug dealers. When in fact the most likely group of people to become addicted to prescription drugs are middle aged women. According to a recent study sponsored by Pacira Pharaceuticals Inc.
Women ages 40-59 are prescribed more opioids than any other age group and receive twice as many opioid prescriptions as their male counterparts. This population is also particularly vulnerable when prescribed opioids after surgery, with about 13% of middle age women becoming newly persistent opioid users who continue to use opioids three to six months after surgery, which puts them at high risk for dependence and addiction. Among women, this age group has been shown to have the highest death rates from opioids.
This is a disturbing statistic. The report also indicates that nearly 3 million patients undergoing surgeries in 2016 became persistent
opioid users. They showed that the most common surgeries that resulted in persistent opioid use were colectomies and knee replacement. They estimate 16-17% of those undergoing these surgeries use prescription drug abusers.
There is a reason women are more likely to be prescribed opioids and may become addicted to them
Women are prescribed painkillers after surgery were 40 percent more likely than men to become persistent opioid users. There is some science behind this. Men and women experience pain differently. Women are more sensitive to pain because they have more nerve receptors, which means their body registers more sensations. This doesn’t justify the over prescribing of opioids, or the poor medical supervision, but it explains why women may become more easily addicted to them.
The solution is better medical treatment, monitoring and an informed consumer
No one wants to be in pain, regardless of their sex. It’s all too easy for a doctor to simply write a prescription and feel done with it. However, someone who is going into surgery or otherwise being treated for something that will result in some sort of pain management afterwards would be wise to talk at length with their doctor about anything they are being prescribed. Learn what the signs of addiction are, the cycle, the symptoms.
You cannot ask your doctor too many questions about prescribed pain medications. Be a wise consumer of medical care and do what you can to avoid any kind of drug abuse or dependency or addiction. Remember, the most common drug addiction is not the person seeking to get high, its the person who is prescribed highly addictive medication.
Want to learn more? Read our special report: Addiction Hotline Facts About Opioids and Opiates