Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern in the United States. Overdoses are becoming everyday occurrences in some parts of the country. More than 6 million Americans use prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons.
While prescription drug abuse affects people of all ages, from teens to the elderly, women are more likely to be affected. Women are 55 percent more likely to be prescribed narcotics, tranquilizers and other dangerous drugs with high potential for abuse.
Pharmaceutical companies have been marketing dangerous drugs and devices to women for many decades. Many cause serious injuries and even death.
Biologically speaking, women react differently than men to various drugs, mainly because they are smaller. Many believe that popping an extra pill or two won’t harm them, but they end up being wrong. Even women with no history of drug overdose or mental illness are experiencing overdoses at alarming rates. Since 1999, prescription drug overdoses by women has spiked by a whopping 415 percent. Compare this to 265 percent for men.
Why such a huge increase? Doctors are busier now than ever, and often don’t take the time to explain medication usage and dosages. Plus, many physicians have become lax in their prescribing. Prescription medications were once reserved for cancer and other serious conditions. Now, Americans are taking drugs for everything under the sun, from anxiety to back pain to diabetes.
Women are especially affected because if they are in pain, they are more likely than men to see a doctor. They are also more likely to be diagnosed with conditions such as anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia and chronic pain—all which are treated with prescription drugs.
Precautions to Avoid Overdoses and Reactions
If you think you may be suffering from a prescription drug overdose, it’s important to know the signs. They include difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, blue nails or lips, small pupils, cold skin and loss of consciousness.
To avoid this type of situation, you need to be proactive. First, ask about non-drug alternatives. Some women find that exercise, changes in diet, meditation and counseling help reduce symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety.
If prescription medications are the only option, listen carefully to your doctor’s instructions and ask questions if you’re unclear about dosage and scheduling. If you are taking other medications, make sure your doctor knows so you can avoid reactions. Be sure you understand the potential side effects so you can inform your doctor if you experience any.
Get Legal Help for a Prescription Drug Injury
If a prescription drug or device caused you to suffer serious injury, it may not be your fault. A pharmacy error, improper dosing, lack of information from a doctor or a pharmaceutical company’s failure to warn consumers of serious side effects can cause serious health issues.
A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your legal rights. Your first step is to contact Christensen Law Firm, PLLC. You may be able to recover compensation for damages caused by dangerous drugs. Reach out to our office today for assistance with your case.