As reported by the Associated Press on August 19, public health agencies and drug treatment centers nationwide are scrambling to battle an explosive increase in cases of hepatitis C, an outbreak they believe stems from a surge in intravenous heroin use.
In response, some local authorities are advocating for needle exchange programs for the first time. But many states disallow the practice, and federal funding for it is banned. The costs of prevention and treatment often fall on public health agencies. This article cites a number of communities that are tackling high rates of both new hepatitis C cases and heroin use.
Nationwide, the number of cases of acute hepatitis C grew 273% from 2009 to 2013, the CDC reported in its most recently available statistics. Tracking similarly is heroin use. The CDC reported that the number of users nationwide rose nearly 150 percent from 2007 to 2013 and that use of the drug also more than doubled among ages 18 to 25 in the decade that ended in 2013.
To read the full article, visit AP’s Website.