Three Reasons Addiction Is Rising Amongst Women

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The Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia, recently carried a report on the fact that drug addiction is on the increase in Saudi Arabia. This is a remarkable occurrence, given the state of women in the Kingdom of Saud. Drugs are a serious problem throughout the world, but it is somewhat surprising to learn that Saudi women are suffering from this affliction just as they are elsewhere in the world. Saudi Arabia is notorious for the rigid restrictions it places on the women of the country; for example, it is the only government in the world that prohibits women from driving. If drugs are getting into the hands of even Saudi Arabian women, it is clear that drug abuse and addiction are a plague that can strike any nation. According to figures included in the Arab News story, the rates of drug addiction among women have increased by 20 percent over the past few years. The problem is especially common among younger women, with 55 percent of drug-addicted Saudi women being between the ages of 19 and 30 years. This reflects one of the major reasons that drug addiction is on the increase among women. Whereas in previous generations women were typically subject to tighter restrictions and a greater social stigma for engaging in taboo behaviors, the younger generations are now living with greater freedom that, along with the positive aspects, also brings more dangerous and destructive behavior, including using drugs.

Painkiller Overdose Death Among Women Reaches All-Time High

Another reason that more and more women are getting addicted to drugs has to do with the increase in prescription rates. Over the period ranging from 1999 to 2010, the number of prescriptions written for opioid prescription painkillers including hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet) more than tripled. Vicodin is now the single most prescribed drug of any kind in the United States. As a result, millions of Americans are getting hooked to these powerfully addictive drugs — which are chemically cousins to heroin — and around 15,000 people die on a yearly basis due to painkiller overdose, more than the number who are killed by both cocaine and heroin combined.

See our Narconon YouTube video on the effects of opiates, prescriptions and their withdrawals.

Women are suffering greatly from what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has described as being a “deadly epidemic” of painkiller abuse. Recent figures published by the CDC report that an average of 18 American women now die from painkiller overdose every day, a number that represents an all-time high. Whether it is for migraines, back or joint pain, or other types of pain, too many women are being given powerfully addictive painkillers that lead toward addiction and possible overdose.

Women Lead Stressful Lives

While drug abuse by the younger generations and patients who have been written prescriptions for painkillers account for a large share of the increase in drug abuse and addiction among women, they do not explain the entire picture. Another aspect of the situation has to do with the dynamics of the modern American family and the pressures that women face on a daily basis. The women’s liberation movement that got women in the United States into a position that represents something closer to an equal footing in the workforce with men did not actually liberate women from their duties in the household. While more women are able to work than their mothers and grandmothers may have been, they still typically bear more of the burden of housekeeping and childcare. Consequently, a mother who works 40 hours for her employer also has two other jobs that are highly demanding both physically and emotionally, jobs for which she does not receive a paycheck.

This circumstance is increasingly common. A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that working mothers are now the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households, a record high figure for this statistic. The stress and pressure of this lifestyle is simply too much for some women to bear, and a certain percentage end up turning to drugs as a way to self-medicate their stress and to find some relief. This approach, however, is not an actual solution. Using drugs makes a person less capable of coping with problems in life, with the result that he or she will tend to use more drugs for further escape, thereby perpetuating the cycle. Fortunately, women who find themselves getting addicted to drugs of any type can find help in quitting and rebuilding their lives through the Narconon drug rehabilitation program.