Prescription Pain Pill Deaths and WomenOct 23, 2013
More women in the United States die each year from prescription drug overdoses than from automobile accidents. One reason might be women experience pain differently from men, and therefore may be prescribed more pain pills. Dr. Kirtly Jones talks about why these preventable deaths are occuring and how they can be prevented. You'll also learn why something as simple as cleaning out your medicine cabinet could save a life.
Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones: Clean out your medicine cabinet and save a life. This is Dr. Kirtly Jones, OB/GYN at the University of Utah Health Care. And this is The Scope.
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Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones: More women die each year from drug overdoses than from automobile accidents. Utah ranks eighth in the nation for drug overdose deaths, and it's even higher for prescription drug overdoses, with the counties in the Wasatch front being some of the highest in the nation. The Centers for Disease Control recently noted that deaths from prescription drug overdose in women had risen much faster than men over the past ten years. And the rate in middle aged women -- women 45 to 54 was the highest, right above women of reproductive age -- 25 to 44.
People think that narcotics uses and misuse is a guy problem. It's true that more men than women die of prescription drug overdose, but the gap is closing. Women and their doctors may not know this fact, and they may not be on the alert. Women experience pain differently than men, and are more likely to have chronic pain; pain for longer than six months. And women may be given higher doses than men.
Women may be using narcotics to treat problems other than pain; anxiety, depression, both of which make pain worse. So, women and their doctors should be careful with narcotics prescriptions, only taking what is prescribed, and only for the shortest period of time; and ask about other ways of managing pain.
Now, most narcotics overdoses are not from illegal street drugs like heroin or cocaine, but are from prescription narcotics. And most of these were obtained by a physician, a friend, or stolen from a medicine cabinet.
So, now -- the medicine cabinet. Clean out your medicine cabinet so your drugs don't get into the wrong hands, or used the wrong way, at the wrong time. Saturday October 26th is National Take Back day, sponsored by the National Department of Justice, and local police and pharmacies.
You can call 1-800-882-9539 and give them your zip code to get a site. Or easier, Google National Take Back Initiative. Go to the Department of Justice website. Put in your zip, and you'll get local sites with maps.
If you're hearing this, it's after October 26th. You can call your local police station about drug disposal. And for non-narcotics, you can Google the words, "Use Only as Directed," and become informed about the problem, and find out how to get rid of unused drugs.
Use pain pills only as directed. Clean out your medicine cabinet. Be safe. Be smart about narcotics. This is Dr. Kirtly Jones, and this is The Scope.
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