BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Drug overdose death rates among women increased drastically. Studies show from 1999 to 2017, the drug overdose death rate among women between the ages of 30 to 64 years old climbed more than 260 percent, according to new CDC reports.
One woman tells ABC 3340's Amber Grigley, it's a harsh reality that she unfortunately knows too well.
"I thought a little here and there would be okay, and I thought I was never going to be one of those people who got addicted," says Heather Marona.
But that wasn't the case as Marona watched her life spiral after her car accident.
"November of 2017, I was five and a half months pregnant. My baby did not make it through the car accident," says Marona.
While trying to cope with losing her baby and her injuries from the accident, she turned to pain pills.
"By the time it got that bad, it was like five to six Xanax bars a day," says Marona.
In efforts to make herself feel better, she almost took her life.
"The person I was with actually took me to my grandmother's house and left me on the front porch, knocked on the door. My grandmother actually came to the front door and found me and called paramedics," says Marona.
But the overdose wasn't her stopping point. She went back to pills until she finally mustered the courage to go to rehab and change her life around.
"It breaks my heart, because it really doesn't have to happen. I feel like a lot of women are using drugs to numb the pain of things that are happening in their lives that don't have to happen. It just really breaks my heart," says Marona.
"If I feel a certain way, then I know there's a pill or something out there so I don't have to experience any type of emotion I label negative," says Kevin Bridgmon, a counselor with Bradford Health Center.
Bridgmon says unfortunately the new data doesn't surprise him. Although they're not seeing an increase at their center, he says it is alarming and something that should not be overlooked.
"Being able to talk about these things without feeling judge without feeling stigmatized. If we could remove that, I think that's a healthy start," said Bridgmon.