07.02.131:17 PM ET

Women’s Painkiller ODs Spike

Deaths increased 400 percent between 1999 and 2010.

The increase in the number of women dying from prescription painkiller overdoses has increased by an unbelievable 400 percent from 1999 to 2010—and middle-aged women account for the fastest-growing share. Calling it a “sleeper problem,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control said that even medical professionals expressed surprise over the huge increase. “It’s underreported,” Frieden said. While medical experts said the increase could have to do with women’s smaller body mass or that the effect of prescription drugs on women’s bodies is still not fully understood, women addicts blamed the changing nature of society. Men’s deaths by overdose tripled over the same period.