The ballooning number of prescriptions for painkillers may account for a 400% surge in overdose deaths from prescription drugs among women from 1999 to 2010, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women in the 45-to-54 age bracket are most vulnerable, experts said. Male deaths from overdose remain higher, but "unfortunately, women are catching up in this regard," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

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