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CDC says more women dying from prescription drug overdoses

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 02 2013 09:41:28 PM CDT

CDC says more women dying from prescription drug overdoses

A new report by the CDC says more women are dying from prescription drug overdoses than ever before and lawmakers in Pennsylvania are doing something about it.

According to the report, since 2007, more women have died from a prescription drug overdose than in motor vehicle accidents.

Deb Beck, President of the Drug and Alcohol Services Providers Organization of Pennsylvania, says she and her colleagues are well aware of the growing problem.

"It's good stuff for people who are severely ill and in the need for some kind of pain killer but you've got to watch it. We're seeing much higher potency....Many of these are highly highly addictive and if people get a hold of them and use them sometimes even exactly as prescribed, they become addicted to these drugs" Beck said.

According to the CDC, the percentage increase in deaths since 1999 to prescription painkillers is 400 percent among women compared to 265 percent among men.

More than 6,600 women died from an overdose to these medications in 2010.

"In general, women have easier access to prescription meds than men and I just think there's a whole societal thing with that " said Beck.

To address the problem in Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives is ready to vote on a bill that would establish a prescription drug monitoring program.

HB 317 would allow the doctor to see what else the patient is being prescribed and if they're seeing different doctors for the same ailment.

"We think the prescription drug monitoring program will provide a terribly important tool to help physicians watch over our health care and provide a safe guard" said Beck.