Heroin addiction causes Hepatitis C infections to rise in recent years
The heroin addiction crisis is fueling a rise in Hepatitis C infections, according to recently released data by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A younger generation of Americans is being infected with Hepatitis C at strikingly massive rates. This can be contributed to several reasons, including the prevalence of unsanitary and dangerous drug injections. The opioid crisis is fueling the highest number of new Hepatitis C virus infections in over 15 years, with infections tripling in just the last five years. What can be done to curb the spread of Hepatitis C?
Heroin Addiction and Hepatitis C
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has put together a five-pronged approach in a national Hepatitis action plan to address the Hepatitis C infections caused by heroin addiction.
The key points of the government’s strategy to curb the spread of Hepatitis C and the fight against heroin addiction include:
- Improved access to drug treatment programs and recovery services.
- Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs like Narcan™ for law enforcement, emergency services, and addicts themselves.
- Strengthen understanding of the opioid epidemic through better public health awareness campaigns.
- Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction.
- Advancing safer and more effective practices for pain management.
Heroin addiction and the opioid epidemic crisis are the main causes for the rise in Hepatitis C infections across the country. Young men and women between the ages of 20-29 are the age group with the highest risk of Hepatitis C infections attributed to heroin addiction. While with modern treatment, Hepatitis C can be managed and even cured (the virus will no longer be detected in the bloodstream), for people in active addiction this is not a priority.
Many are often not aware that they carry the dangerous virus and continue sharing needles and drug injection tools with other addicts. This helps spread the disease and is a major contributing factor in the increased Hepatitis C infections among heroin addicts.
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