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Overdose deaths in women jump 400 percent

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A shocking statistic has just been released by the Centers for Disease Control, stating the number of women overdosing on prescription pain medication has skyrocketed in recent years.

Officials say prescription overdoses are blamed for killing 48,000 women since 1999, which is more than the number of women dying in car accidents or from cervical cancer.

Tom Frieden, MD, Director of the CDC, said, "Prescription opiates like Oxycontin now kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined."

A new report from the CDC finds the rate of such overdoses among women has increased by more than 400 percent since 1999.

Painkillers are often prescribed to women who are more likely than men to have chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and migraines.

Frieden said, "They're more likely to be prescribed medications for that pain and because they're lighter on average, they're more likely to get into trouble with the same doses of medication."

The medications may be important for people suffering with severe illnesses but experts say the risk of long-term addiction may outweigh any immediate benefits.

Experts say that despite the major increase in overdose deaths by women, death rates are still higher among men.