Opioid Dependency, also known as Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a public health crisis affecting women, men, children, and society. Women with OUD have unique care needs and require a broad range of medical, mental and behavioral health, and social services to meet these needs. Care coordination with several medical and mental health care providers is important to manage the array of services that might be delivered to women in different settings.
OUD is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a “problematic pattern of opioid use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.” It is a type of substance use disorder that involves use of illegal (for example, heroin) or prescription (for example, oxycodone) opioids. This disorder results in health problems, disability, and difficulty meeting major responsibilities at home, work, or school.
Women who seek care for OUD show courage and strength. Seeking help can further add anxiety when talking to providers about their addiction, treatment and recovery because of social stigma and fear of involvement from legal perspectives.
Women are more likely than men to experience chronic pain and use prescription opioid pain medications for longer periods and in higher doses. Women make up 65 percent of total opioid prescriptions and 40 percent more women (than men) become persistent opioid users following various types of surgery.
From 2003 to 2012, heroin use rate doubled for women. This is still less than half of the rate of men. The use of opioids can result in physical tolerance and opioid use disorder.
Treatments for women with OUD's vary depending on the severity of the addiction, pre-existing or co-occurring medical and mental health conditions, and other social variables. Some clients require higher levels of care, within a structured Opioid Treatment Program (OTP), in either out-patient or in-patient facilities. Our practice offers office-based treatments for OUD.
Common Prescription Opioids
- MS Contin (morphine sulfate)
- Oxycontin (oxycodone)
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen)
- Combunox (ibuprofen and oxycodone)
- Vicodin (hydrocodone with acetaminophen)
- Demerol (meperidine/pethidine)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
- Duragesic, Fentora, Subsys, Abstral (fentanyl)
- Tylenol 3, Tylenol 4 (codeine with acetaminophen)
- Ultracet (tramadol and acetaminophen)