DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - A newly released report from the CDC reveals drug overdose deaths among females aged 30 to 64 have skyrocketed in recent years.
For years, Carol LeMay's niece kept her opioid addiction hidden from her family – a secret only revealed after she overdosed on heroin.
“She was 32 years old when I found out she was addicted,” LeMay said.
LeMay’s niece is now a recovering addict.
From that experience LeMay co-founded a nonprofit called Wings of Hope to fight back on the opioid crisis through education and help.
“I stepped up and wanted to do something about it,” LeMay said. “Even if it was to bring awareness, I wanted to do something.”
America's drug crisis is taking a deadly toll on an unexpected group. Though men are far more likely to die from an overdose, women are still at risk.
“It’s really alarming, but you got to think women are more likely to go to the doctor,” LeMay said. “And a lot of the heroin addiction actually came from them stopping prescribing opioids so then they turn to the streets.”
New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found drug overdose deaths have soared since 1999 among women over 30, with the biggest increase among women ages 45 to 64.
“There is one woman I work with, she became addicted after she had her baby,” LeMay said. “You know, so she could take care of her baby and clean her house and everything. It made her feel like super mom.”
LeMay said women often strive to be perfect and can be afraid to ask for help.
“Opioids doesn’t let you feel,” LeMay said. “When you come off of it you’ve got to deal with the real world, it’s not pretty.”
The CDC report said as overdose deaths continue to be “unacceptably high,” more targeted efforts are needed to reduce the number of deaths in this evolving epidemic.
To learn more about Wings of Hope, visit their Facebook page.