Novus Detox Center: Studies Illustrate Opioids’ Growing Toll on Women



A recent government report revealed that between 1999 and 2015, the rate of prescription opioid overdose deaths among women increased 471%, compared to a 218% increase among men; and heroin-related deaths among women increased at more than twice the rate among men.(1) Another study showed a disproportionate rise in opioid-related hospitalizations among women.(2) Novus Detox Center, a preeminent Florida-based drug treatment provider, aims to create awareness of the growing threat opioids pose to women, available opioid alternatives, and the critical need for appropriate detox and drug treatment programs.

In addition to the dramatic surge in prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health (OWH) reported that females also had a “startling” 850% increase in synthetic opioid overdose fatalities over the same period.(1) Another group of researchers examined opioid-related hospitalizations from 2005 to 2014 and found a 75% increase among women versus 55% among men.(2) Furthermore, women had a higher rate of opioid-related inpatient stays in 33 of the 45 states included in the study.(2)

The OWH analysis highlighted several key trends regarding women’s patterns of opioid use:

  • Women are more likely than men to suffer from chronic pain, and subsequently use prescription opioid pain relievers for longer periods and in higher doses; and
  • Women who use opioids progress to dependence more quickly than men and experience greater cravings than men.(1)

“In light of these findings, I would urge physicians to exercise extreme caution when prescribing opioids to women,” said Kent Runyon, Vice President of Community Relations for Novus Medical Detox Center. “Too many doctors and patients regard opioids as a quick fix for pain, yet these medications can severely compromise women’s health and create a vicious cycle of dependency that is hard to break. The medical profession’s continued reliance on opioids is both unnecessary and dangerous, especially when there are a number of alternatives that can deliver pain relief without the risk of addiction or dependency.”

According to a new study published in JAMA, researchers found that acetaminophen and ibuprofen were just as effective as prescription opioids in reducing acute extremity pain.(3) Furthermore, doctors at the University of Michigan noted that many patients suffer from opioid-induced hyperalgesia, or increased sensitivity to pain, which exacerbates existing conditions. They maintain that pain can often be effectively managed through surgery, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, topical ointments, and non-opioid medications, such as acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and certain classes of antidepressants and anticonvulsants.(4)

“The pharmaceutical industry has spent heavily to stoke the demand for opioids, but physicians need to start putting their patients’ welfare first and prescribing alternative options,” asserted Runyon. “The solution to the U.S. opioid epidemic requires both a drastic reduction in opioid prescriptions and expanded access to opioid detox and treatment programs. If women had a better understanding of the long-term risks and consequences of opioid use, I think we’d see fewer of them filling opioid prescriptions in the first place and more females committing to treatment.”

Runyon urges women to review the studies on how opioid use can impact their long-term health and wellbeing. For those currently struggling with substance use disorders, he counsels medically supervised and individually customized opioid detox programs as the first step to sustainable sobriety and a successful long-term recovery.

For more information on Novus Detox Center and its medically supervised opioid treatment programs, visit

About Novus Detox Center:
Novus Detox Center is soon to be operating two inpatient medical detox facilities that are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. Renowned for its pioneering approach to Sustainable Sobriety™, Novus provides safe and effective alcohol and drug detox programs that combine next-generation treatment protocols, 24/7 medical supervision and integrated, individualized care. By conditioning the body and mind to re-imagine a fulfilling, drug-free future, Novus empowers patients on their journey to recovery and creates a solid foundation for long-term success. Novus is committed to leading the way in patient experience, both as a detoxification expert and a supportive partner in ongoing health and wellness, and is dedicated to pushing industry standards forward. The original Florida detox facility is located in New Port Richey (outside Tampa) and another is soon to open in West Palm Beach; both feature a wide range of amenities, delicious and healthy meals, and a relaxing, spa-like environment to ensure the withdrawal process is as stress-free and comfortable and as possible. For more information on Novus’ medically supervised detox programs, visit

1.    U.S. Office on Women’s Health. Final Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women; July 19, 2017.

2.    Weiss, Audrey J.; et al. “Patient Characteristics of Opioid-Related Inpatient Stays and Emergency Department Visits Nationally and by State, 2014”; Statistical Brief #224, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; June 2017.

3.    Chang, Andrew K.; et al. “Effect of a Single Dose of Oral Opioid and Nonopioid Analgesics on Acute Extremity Pain in the Emergency DepartmentA Randomized Clinical Trial”; JAMA; November 7, 2017.

4.    Urban, Kylie. “Medications, Mindfulness and More Alternatives to Opioids for Treating Pain”; Michigan Medicine blog; January 27, 2017.

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