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CDC: Sharp rise in pain reliever overdoses, especially in women

July 3, 2013

The annual number of overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers rose 415% for women and 265% for men between 1999 and 2010, to more than 6,600 and 10,000, respectively, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women are more likely than men to be prescribed prescription painkillers, given higher doses and use them for longer periods, the report notes. Among other actions, the report recommends that states increase access to substance abuse treatment, and that health care providers check state prescription drug monitoring databases before prescribing controlled substances long-term. “Doctors need to be cautious about prescribing and patients about using these drugs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D.