Women are much more likely to become addicted to prescription painkillers prescribed by doctors than men, a new study suggests, and researchers say that underscores the need for different treatment options based on gender.
According to the survey, of the more than 500 patients attending Ontario methadone clinics 52 per cent of women reported doctor prescribed painkillers as their first contact with opioid drugs.
That compared to 38 per cent for men.
Senior author, Dr. Zena Samaan, says it’s not totally clear why, but she says sociological theories say women are more likely to seek help from a doctor than men.
The researchers also point out that while intravenous drug use among methadone patients has reduced by 60 per cent since the 90′s, there has been a 30 per cent increase in patients who are becoming addicted to opioids through doctor prescribed painkillers.
The report also cites World Health Organization numbers that say Canada consumes more opioid painkillers per capita than any other country.