The rise of prescription pain pill abuse and dependence is no surprise anymore.
Adolescents and adults are so over-taken by this epidemic that substance abuse facilities, counselors’ offices, and funeral parlors are seeing more and more results of it daily.
It used to be heroin that had people so hooked that detoxification and on-going treatment were only seeing that drug’s effects.
Today, it’s OxyContins, RoxiContins, Vicodins and Percocets that are getting America dependent on an “easy-fix” to feel better and cope with life. In doing so, Americans run a very high risk of losing life.
Historically, prescription pain pill abuse and dependence was seen as a man’s problem.
Reason being was men used to be the main bread winner in the home, and while working, would often suffer on-the-job injuries that doctors would prescribe painkillers for to alleviate pain.
In doing so, men would unknowingly become dependent on these pills long after the pain had subsided. This practice continues today, yet the problem gets bigger and bigger! Now it includes children who can have access to the medicine cabinet, adolescents who have survived car accidents or other pain-inducing tragedies, and women.
According to a report* in the New York Times on July 2, 2013 by Sabrina Tavernise who cited a study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Deaths among women have been rising for some time, but Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC Director, said the problem had gone virtually unrecognized.”
This reflects the diagnosis of Alcoholism rarely including women years ago, because no one could imagine a woman being a drunk.
The New York Times article addressed some reasons attributed to this spike in women’s potential for overdosing on painkillers:
- Single parent homes
- Stress related to “baby fathers” not paying proper support for their children
- Fibromyalgia, (a controversial pain-causing condition) mostly being diagnosed on women
- And unemployment
Crystal D. Steele, a 42 year old recovering addict cited in the NY Times article said, “I thought I was supermom. I took one kid to football, the other to baseball. I went to work. I washed the car. I cleaned the house. I didn’t even know I had a problem.” How sad, but how could one resist?
Painkillers can create the false sense of energy, power, euphoria and ability to cope with these issues for afflicted, depressed and struggling women. Women’s body mass, according to the study’s authors, also is less than men’s, making overdosing more of a risk factor, and a huge one at that.
Society is changing daily. More than ever, women are feeling trapped and some are squeezing a living out of very small paychecks while raising a family that was fathered by a non-existent male. It is not hard to see how or why relief in a pill would make so much sense to them. However, the problem is not that simple and it is potentially deadly.
Women need assistance in recovery, in learning to like themselves again, and real alternatives to living out of a bottle of pills! Society, you are being beckoned! Wake up! Help make a difference by reaching out to women you may know who are struggling, or feel stuck in a situation of despair or depression! Do what you can! Ultimately, be part of the solution!
Stay tuned for my soon-to-be released book, “Socialcide: How America is Loving Itself to Death” to learn more about how Society must begin to change to make the world a better place. Thanks!
* Source: NYTimes.com.
Read more posts by Leo Battenhausen, MSW, addiction and mental health counselor. Leo is a blogger for JenningsWire.