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They are mothers, wives, daughters and sisters. They are accountants, professors, researchers, firefighters and more. Perhaps most surprising of all is that this group of people is most likely to be prescribed opioids when they go to an emergency room or when they leave a hospital after surgery. Who are these people? According to a recent study, they are middle-aged women.

That initial prescription can sometimes result in an opioid addiction that can compel a person to commit drug crimes in order to feed a powerful hunger.

The study by Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. examined data generated by more than 78,000 patients who were in 600 hospitals. Researchers found that women ages 40 to 59 are the ones most likely to be prescribed opioids; the group also has the highest death rate involving the narcotics.

Middle-aged women are also frequently in need of surgery — hernia, hysterectomy, hip replacement, knee replacement, rotator cuff, sleeve gastrectomy and the like — that can require pain medications afterwards. But the surgeries can be a “gateway to persistent opioid use and potential misuse,” the study’s authors stated.

When addiction rears its ugly head, people can sometimes resort to prescription forgery, ID theft, burglary and the buying and selling of street drugs to feed their habits. An arrest on drug charges can mean possible jail time, fines, probation and career-threatening repercussions that no one wants.

If you have been arrested on opioid-related charges, you can speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your legal options. Contact the law office of Jack P. Sherman, Attorney at Law, for more information.