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prescription drugDrug addiction has been a problem in the US for decades; however in recent years prescription drug addiction has been consistently on the rise.  There are several factors that are known to have contributed to this rise including the easy accessibility of pain killers, some doctors too willing to prescribe painkillers, and the fact that because they are legal they are believed to be safe, or less dangerous than other drugs like meth or cocaine.  While anyone can be addicted to pain pills, especially if they have taken them legitimately for pain, it is primarily white men and women who suffer from this form of addiction.  And in the past it was largely men who suffered physical pain from manual labor and were more likely to abuse and overdose; yet a recent article by the New York Times discusses the rise of women who are overdosing and dying  from painkiller addictions.

The CDC has been collecting data which shows that environmental factors are significant contributors to the increase in women abusing prescription drugs; stress over finances and unemployment, single-parenthood and family stress, and family history of addiction and depression.

Results also show that older women, in the 45-55 age range, are more likely to overdose that younger women, in the 20-30 age range, even though the number of younger women addicted to prescription drugs is much higher.  Researchers are still investigating this discrepancy.

Fortunately there is hope and there are many options for those who want to overcome their addiction.  Treatment programs ranging from various out-patient and in-patient programs address both the physical and psychological needs of the addict.  Counseling, both individual and group, can help addicts recognize triggers, like stress and physical pain, as well as work through past issues, like family abuse financial issues and addiction, that create feelings of shame and inferiority. Recognizing the problem and taking the steps to overcome addiction are the first steps to take for yourself and your family.

The full article is available at The New York Times Online or by following this link .

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