New research indicates that women in the US, while still trailing men, are unfortunately catching up to them in fatal overdoses from pain medications. And the same research indicates such overdoses are more likely among women who have been prescribed antidepressants as well as pain medications.
Also, this isn’t primarily a problem for the young:
While younger women in their 20s and 30s tend to have the highest rates of opioid abuse, the overdose death rate was highest among women ages 45 to 54, a finding that surprised clinicians. The range indicates that at least some portion of the drugs may have been prescribed appropriately for pain, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview. If death rates were driven purely by abuse, then one would expect the death rates to be highest among younger women who are the biggest abusers.
As Volkow notes, in many cases, the opiates (and likely the anti-depressants as well) were properly prescribed, and not originally sought out for illicit use. It’s still a word of caution, though.