More than 18 million women were addicted to opiate prescription medications in 2014. Many women were stay-at-home moms who admitted to using opiates to cope with the stress of motherhood.
Moms and Opiate Addiction
Recent studies by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show concerning statistics for opiate abuse with many addicted stay-at-home moms who use the drugs as a coping strategy. In 2014, more than 28,000 women died from opioid overdose, and at least half of those deaths involved prescriptions. Currently, more men still die from fatal drug overdoses each year, but women are rapidly narrowing the gap. Between 1999 and 2010, 48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses.
Small children whose mothers are struggling with opiate addiction are more likely to suffer overdoses than children of mothers who take a different class of over-the-counter pain medications. The number of overdoses are 2 1/2 times higher in children whose mothers are prescribed opioids. Findings emphasize the dangers of keeping opioids like OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, codeine, and methadone in a house with toddler aged children. In some overdose cases, the victims are less than a year old. Since babies this young are not likely to pick up pills on their own, a criminal defense attorney often sees addicted mothers charged with drug crimes, as well as neglect or intentional malice in these situations.
The Opiate Epidemic
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of people admitted to treatment centers for narcotic-painkiller addiction has increased by 400 percent over the last decade, and the number of deaths from overdoses from these drugs has more than tripled. Statistics show that there are more opiate painkillers used in the United States than any other country in the world. Health officials attribute the increase in opioid drug use to easy availability. In 1995, the FDA approved controlled release for Oxycontin with no oversight or monitoring. In 1996, pain was adopted as a vital sign by physicians who were encouraged to ask patients about pain the same way they would check a patient’s temperature or blood pressure.
In Minnesota, a criminal defense attorney often sees serious crimes that result from drug addiction. Addicts often resort to vandalism, theft and violent crimes to support their drug habits. If convicted of a drug crime in Minnesota, penalties and fines can be harsh, even with a first offense.
Opiate addiction can lead to arrest. If you are charged with drug crimes in Minnesota, contact K|H Law at 507-625-5000 for a free consultation.