New federal numbers on pain pill overdoses among women have raised grave concern among healthcare professionals and public health officials. Analysis from the Centers for Disease Control showed that pain killer OD deaths among women have quadrupled since 1999.
More women now die of overdoses from pain pills like OxyContin than from cervical cancer or homicide. Nearly 48,000 women died of prescription painkiller overdoses between 1999 and 2010. For every woman who dies of a prescription painkiller overdose, 30 go to the emergency department for painkiller misuse or abuse.
In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and psychologist Dan Gottlieb discuss these numbers – and what they could mean for approaches to treating chronic pain.