Opioid-related hospitalisations among women in the United States increased far faster than among men between 2005 and 2014, a federal government report says.
Among women, hospitalisations involving opioid painkillers or heroin rose 75 percent, compared to 55 percent among men, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The surge among women during that 10-year period meant that by 2014 males and females were being hospitalised at a similar rate — about 225 hospitalisations per 100,000 people.
In 2014, hospitalisation rates among women were highest in West Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts, exceeding 350 per 100,000 people. Among men, the highest rates were in the District of Columbia, New York and Maryland, topping 440 hospitalisations per 100,000.
Misuse of potent painkillers such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicoprofen (hydrocodone/ibuprofen) sends 1,000 Americans to emergency rooms each day. Opioid-related overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999, according to federal statistics.