By: Bethany Winkel
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Hepatitis C a Risk for Opiate Addicts
According to the CDC, our country is now seeing the repercussions of the high numbers of heroin and prescription painkiller users manifested in a new threat: Hepatitis C. A new study by the CDC estimates that there has been a 12.6 percent increase in those who use syringes to inject prescription painkillers. Now, many of those people, as well as the many who use heroin, are at risk for contracting diseases like Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that affects the liver. It causes liver damage, itchy rashes, skin lesions, and extreme fatigue, and it can be passed from one individual to another through dirty needles. The CDC estimates that over 3 million people have Hepatitis C, and officials are afraid that the number will continue to rise as the opiate epidemic increases in our country.
In order to combat this problem, many are suggesting needle exchange programs. Others believe law enforcement needs to crack down on those who sell and misuse opiate drugs. The only real way to help those struggling with opiate addiction is to provide treatment in the form of rehab and therapy, and to educate the public on the dangers of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.
Learn more about the CDC’s study and its recommendations here.