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How Women Are Being Adversely Impacted by the Opioid Crisis

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a state of emergency to address the opioid crisis in the past few years. While people are becoming more aware, the United States and Canada are still wrestling with the worst drug crisis seen in a long time. With a reliance on prescriptions for opioids, like fentanyl, there is a growing need to address the epidemic among women. Find out why women are being so negatively impacted and how to find support for women with opioid addiction

The Problem of Pain

Women are found to use opioids as a medical treatment for pain differently than men. Women report more sensitivity to painful stimuli and have a higher risk of pain. They turn to pain-relief medications and seek out support for things like exhaustion and mental health issues, self-medicating to care for their needs. Women of all ages and demographics are being impacted. They are prescribed more opioids than any other age group and receive twice as many prescriptions as their male partners, friends, and men in general. Women are more likely to receive prescriptions for additional medication that increases the risk of overdose. 

Why Women Become Addicted

Women are more likely to develop dependency and addiction from smaller amounts of drugs in a shorter period of time. They are likely to be sensitive to the effects of certain drugs and more likely to die from an overdose. This leads women to be more negatively impacted than men when it comes to this drug. They may also experience domestic violence, divorce, and the death of a partner that causes them to use opioids as a means of coping. Women who enter substance use treatment arrive with behavioral, medical, and social issues. They tend to be more complex than what brought them to treatment, but they can find support and healing there.

Finding Treatment

Opiate treatment is more common and severe in women. It means that treatments should be gender-specific for women and offered to help them navigate their specific trials. Buprenorphine, an effective treatment for opiate use disorder, works for women like it does for men and is a great alternative resource for women. Healthcare avoids gender-based treatments so it is hard for women to find coverage for addiction treatment but tides are shifting in their direction. To overcome issues with women in treatent for opioid addiction, it is important ot support htem from the inside out. Let them find emotional and physical help for addiction but also integrated with kinship in the community so they feel connected to the treatment program and people. This will help them navigate it better when they leave and have to pursue recovery out in the world. 

Guest House understands women’s needs vary and are different from men. They are offered support and space here to heal from addiction. Recovery is challenging, so it is important to find a space to heal that is just for women. For more information on sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call 855-483-7800.