More Women Dying From Drug Overdoses

The number of Ohio women dying from drug overdose has increased 436 percent since 2000.
The number of Ohio women dying from drug overdose has increased 436 percent since 2000.

Unintentional drug overdose is at epidemic levels in Ohio, and the number of women dying has skyrocketed.

Since 2000, the number of Ohioans dying from drug overdose has reached epidemic levels. While men account for more than half of drug overdose deaths, the number of females dying from overdose has increase by 436 percent since, a rate nearly 40 percent higher than males.

The increases could be related to the number of prescriptions doctors give women. The Ohio Department of Health’s Christy Beeghly said research indicates women receive more prescriptions than men, particularly for pain pills like oxycodone. And she said women use the drugs longer and at higher doses.

“It’s not completely understood why this is the case,” Beeghly said. “It could be because there are more common types of chronic pain that women are experiencing such as fibromyalgia. Migraines tend to be more prevalent among women.”

In Ohio, prescription pain killers remain the top drug in fatal overdoses for both men and women.
And it’s becoming more common for people to use multiple drugs which can increase the chances of respiratory failure. ODH figures also show a majority of women who overdose also will have taken an antidepressant.

Comments
  • RBW

    This is either an egregious effort to make a minor issue sound scary or lazy reporting. (Not sure which is worse.) Yes, I know that ODH released ominous numbers recently, but a little background could place these “frightening percentages” in context. It took me about 45 minutes, but I am not a reporter, just a radio owner.

    The report states “the number of females dying from overdose has increase (sic) by 436 percent since (2000), a rate nearly 40 percent higher than males.” Okay, but what are the numbers actually?

    I found on ODH’s site that in 2000 the rate of deaths from overdose was 1.6/100,000 for women and 7.1/100,000 for men, or 18% women and
    88% men. Using the ODH figure of 327 OD fatalities in 2000, the math yields 286 men and 59 women as the 2000 starting figure. With 1,765 OD fatalities in 2011, of which the article says “more than half” are men, while I found that ODH specifies that in 2011 2/3’s were men, and applying a bit of basic math reveals that some 1059 men and 706 women died of OD’s that year.

    So a less shrill and more “reportorial” or dispassionate tone would state that fewer than 2 women a day die of ODs in the entire state of Ohio, for a annual loss of 706 female lives out of a total population of 5,895,152 women (US census estimate of Ohio population at 11,536,502 with 51.1% females) or 0.00012 percent, (rounded up.) And, the dramatic 14% increase from 2010 was just 87 more women.

    The point is, give us the facts, don’t try to decide for us what they mean. That’s why NPR listeners tune in.