Opioid addiction in Knox County: the impacts on women and how A Hand Up for Women can help victims.

Hand Up for Women exists to help women living in poverty and challenging situations build resilience and overcome the obstacles in their way. Part of this process includes helping women in our community achieve and maintain sobriety from addiction. As Tennessee has felt the impact of opioid addiction, so too have the women in our state.

Opioid addiction has long plagued the U.S. and brought with it a lot of hurt and complex challenges for those touched by the epidemic. From 1999 to 2019 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that almost 500,000 people died from an overdose related to prescription and/or illicit opioids. Addiction to opiates can also be developed quickly and easily.

The National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) states that opioid addiction can be developed by as little as a week of opioid use. NWHN also reports that women are more susceptible to forming substance dependance than men.

Forbes reports that the number of opioid related deaths for women have increased at a much higher rate than that of men. With women seeing an increase of 568% while opioid related fatalities among men increased by 380% in the same period. While the opioid epidemic has reached far and wide, the CDC reported that women between the ages of 25 and 54 are more likely than other age groups to go to the emergency department from prescription painkiller abuse. Additionally, women between the ages of 45 and 54 are a high-risk group for dying from a prescription painkiller overdose.

This epidemic has touched close to home as well as Tennessee is currently ranked third in the country most for prescription drug abuse and Knoxville already has over 300 opiate related deaths this year. Even more somber is the fact that the Knoxville Fire Department said that its crews respond to an overdose call around every three hours on average.

While August is international overdose awareness month, know also that Hand Up for Women is here to help women in our community work through the fallout of addiction either through their own or a loved one’s dependance on opiates.

Hand Up For Women has been serving ladies in the Knox County area since 2003. We provide long-term, healthy friendships and a year-long series of twice-weekly classes that teach women to realize their full potential in every area of life. Classes include topics on life management, career readiness and spiritual development. By empowering women and helping them gain the confidence and life-skills to be self-sufficient, we have helped many beat addiction through God’s love.

Remember, someone has been in your shoes before, and alumni of Hand Up for Women offer mentorship and guidance to help put you on the path for healing and recovery. We see the devastating impacts on women in our community and we’re here to help put the pieces back together.

Learn more about our mission and how you can help here: