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Opiate Addiction: Majority of Female Patients with Opiate Dependencies are Reliant on Doctor-Prescribed Painkillers

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–03/22/2004–According to The Waismann Institute’s 2004 Opiate Dependency Report, 86 percent of female patients seeking treatment were battling a dependency to prescription painkillers. Based upon research conducted by the world-renowned opiate dependency treatment center, the drug most commonly found to be a problem for women was OxyContin at 21 percent, while 60 percent sought treatment for dependency to hydrocodone-based medication such as Vicodin, Lortab, Norco and Percocet and five percent sought treatment for methadone dependency. The findings are based on a survey conducted of patients receiving treatment for dependencies to various opiate-based drugs.
“As the results of our 2004 Opiate Dependency Report show, dependency to prescription painkillers is a dangerous problem for women,” said Clare Waismann, executive director of The Waismann Institute. “In addition to treatment for chronic pain from injury or disease, some women also seek doctor-prescribed relief from ailments like migraine headaches and menstrual cramps. They are commonly prescribed the same painkillers to treat these less serious ailments, but the risk of physical dependency is still there, and can pose a more destructive problem than the pain.”
Of female respondents, 51 percent indicated that a doctor’s prescription marked the beginning of the dependency, while another 18 percent said they were taking the drug to treat pain, but they obtained it through a friend or family member. Only 10 percent reported taking it recreationally.
Additional findings include:
— Of female patients that were prescribed the medication by their doctors, 89 percent claimed the prescribing doctors gave directions for use that were clear, easy to understand and enforced.
— Twenty percent of those dependent on prescription medication indicated that they visited multiple doctors to acquire prescriptions.
— Sixty-three percent of women respondents with prescription drug dependencies did not seek help from the prescribing doctor after they realized they developed a physical dependency to the drug.
— Of female survey respondents, 55 percent said they felt they had been dependent for over three years.
— Fifty-five percent of women indicated that their family members noticed a dependency, while 88 percent said their doctors were not aware of their dependency.
— Many women reported health issues that they attributed to their opiate dependencies, including memory loss (44 percent), decreases in mental health (26 percent) and extreme weight loss (12 percent).
— The age group with the most respondents to report a dependency to opiate-based drugs was between 33-45 (44 percent), while 40 percent were between 46-56 years of age.
“It is evident from the results of our 2004 Opiate Dependency Report that women using prescription medication must understand the precautions and monitor intake as they are at a high risk for dependency,” explained Waismann. “Most women don’t realize that simply taking an opiate-based painkiller for two weeks can be enough to create a physical dependency.”
With headquarters in Beverly Hills, The Waismann Institute uses the exclusive Waismann Method of rapid detox to treat opiate dependency. Performed in a hospital intensive care unit, the Waismann Method involves cleansing the opiate receptors in the patient’s brain of the narcotics while the patient is under anesthesia. During the procedure, the patient will experience no conscious withdrawal, and will be able to return home within days. 75 percent of the prescription drug dependent patients who are treated with the Waismann Method remain drug free after one year.
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