"More people die from prescription opioid overdose than from heroin overdose per year," Dr. Jennifer Holder-Murray, co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Program told ABC News.
In addition to being prescribed more opioids than anyone else, women aged 40 through 59 also have the highest death rate from opioids among women, according to the report, titled “United States for Non-Dependence: An Analysis of the Impact of Opioid Overprescribing in America."
Kristina Crews Miller, a Florida mother of three told ABC News that she fell into opioid addiction following a routine operation to remove cysts from her ovaries.
She says she realized she was addicted to her medication when she returned to work following her surgery, saying, "I did not survive two hours at work, I was sweating, I was nauseous, I was dizzy, I was weak."
Although she has now recovered from her addiction, Crews Miller told ABC News, "I overdosed twice in front of my kids."
"What's startling and really bothersome in this study is the number of patients that are on opioids well after the surgery's been completed," Holder-Murray said. The report concluded that nearly 3 million patients in 2016 who underwent surgery continued taking opioids beyond their postsurgical recovery period.
Crews Miller said she is now making it her mission to raise awareness, saying, "people are dying everyday."
"Its time to end the stigma, and stop being so judgmental and help, they're sick, they’re not not human because they’re active in addiction," she added.