The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says drug overdoses from prescription painkillers is a growing epidemic, especially among women.
The CDC says 48,000 women died from prescription painkiller overdoses from 1999 to 2010. It says overdose deaths among women have increased 400 percent since 1999, compared to 265 percent among men.
The CDC says that while men are still more likely to die of prescription painkiller overdoses, the gap between men and women is closing. It says the rate in deaths relates to the increased prescribing of painkillers in the United States in the past decade.
The CDC is urging health care providers to recognized that women are more at risk of painkiller overdose when prescribing the medicines.
The painkillers included in the CDC report include common opioid or narcotic pain relievers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone and methadone.