Hepatitis C Spreads as a Result of Opioid Epidemic

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New cases of hepatitis C are on the rise as a result of the nation’s opioid epidemic, according to health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this year that new hepatitis C cases have almost tripled nationwide in just a few years, The Washington Post reports. The increase is largely due to intravenous drug use among young adults. Hepatitis C can be contracted at any point during the drug injection process, including by using a drug cooker or tourniquet with another person’s blood on it, according to Shruti Mehta of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Treating hepatitis C can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and is limited by insurance and Medicaid, the article notes. Treatment is mostly unavailable to people who are still using illicit drugs.
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CDC Awards $12 Million to Help States Fight Opioid Overdose Epidemic

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Support will strengthen state efforts to prevent and track opioid overdoses The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be awarding more than $12 million to 23 states and the District of Columbia to support their responses to the opioid overdose epidemic. The funds will be used to strengthen prevention efforts and better track of opioid-related overdoses. CDC expects to announce additional funding awards for state opioid overdose prevention programs later in the summer. Increased funding for opioids in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill is allowing CDC to support all states that have applied for funding through the Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidi ty and Mortality and Mortality (ESOOS) program and the Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States (PfS) program. Under the ESOOS program, $7.5 million will go to 20 additional states and the District of Columbia to better track and prevent opioid-involved nonfatal and...
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Opioid Epidemic Fuels Increase in Cocaine-Related Overdose Deaths

Opioid Epidemic Fuels Increase in Cocaine-Related Overdose Deaths
A growing number of people are dying from cocaine-related overdoses because they are mixing the drug with opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, according to U.S. News & World Report. Cocaine can result in overdose on its own, the article notes. It is not known whether people are mixing the drugs intentionally, or are unknowingly taking tainted products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cocaine was responsible for the second-most drug-overdose deaths in 2014. Cocaine-related deaths have risen in recent years, after declining steadily, even though there did not appear to be a significant increase in the drug’s availability. “From the death data, we don’t know whether these are cocaine users who added opioids or were opioid users who added cocaine,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Both are possible. The data shows us that both drugs may have been...
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HHS Announces New Actions To Combat Opioid Epidemic

HHS Announces New Actions To Combat Opioid Epidemic
U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced several new actions the department is taking to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. The actions include expanding access to buprenorphine, a medication to treat opioid use disorder, a proposal to eliminate any potential financial incentive for doctors to prescribe opioids based on patient experience survey questions, and a requirement for Indian Health Service prescribers and pharmacists to check state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) databases before prescribing or dispensing opioids for pain. In addition, the department is launching more than a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain treatment and soliciting feedback to improve and expand prescriber education and training programs. The actions announced build on the HHS Opioid Initiative, which was launched in March 2015 and is focused on three key priorities: 1) improving opioid prescribing practices; 2) expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid...
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