Substance abuse disorder is a disease that has its reach globally and spreads irrespective of caste, color, and nationality. Although men have more risk of facing substance abuse disorder, women also face addiction disorder, the consequences of which are more than those faced by men. Various medical experts are baffling during the National Women’s Health Week, trying to figure out why deaths related to drug overdose are constantly increasing for women.

According to the data released by the United States Centers for Disease Control, data gathered from the year 1999 to 2017 saw a whopping 260 percent spike in death rate for women of age 30-64. The data was gathered and observed earlier this year. The drug overdose deaths in women include the use of benzodiazepines such as anti-anxiety medication like Xanax, antidepressants, heroin, cocaine, synthetic, and prescription opioids. 

Michelle Sproule, Primary Therapist at the Scottsdale Recovery Center told in an interview that a lot of people including women, in particular, dismiss the possible side effects of a drug overdose, and also the interactions of medications including opiates and benzodiazepines. These medications are usually prescribed to women and over time, they become addicted to these drugs. Michelle also mentioned the possibility that they may also be taking medications that they are consuming without acknowledging the possible side effects of mixing these drugs. 

She said that women use medications differently than men do. Women are more likely to use substances for something that’s called secondary gains. These gains include promoting weight loss increased ability to focus on daily and complex responsibilities, get rid of pain, and reduce exhaustion from excessive workload. These differences are the reason why women need to be directed towards gender-specific recovery programs. Michelle says that these programs can help target unique roadblocks such as child care, history of trauma, and limited resources. 

She further added that the medication providers need to provide a clear understanding of the type of medications they are prescribing to the patients and the possible effects of these on the body. Michelle said that providers must inform about the risk of addiction and dependency to their client so that it can educate them on how to not overtake the prescribed medications. Talking about the trends specific to her clinic, Michelle said that she is observing an increasing number of cases of fentanyl consumption purchased from the streets. Just like the entire nation, Arizona is in an opioid crisis, she added. 

Read more at KTAR’s website 

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