Breaking News
November 14, 2018 - Research highlights physical changes in the brain of self-injuring teen girls
November 14, 2018 - Speed and error rate of DNA synthesis influenced by DNA structure
November 14, 2018 - Cranberry consumption modifies impact of animal-based diet on gut health
November 14, 2018 - £500,000 grant could pave way for new antibiotic to battle against drug-resistant superbugs
November 14, 2018 - Trump Administration Finalizes Birth Control Coverage Opt-Out
November 14, 2018 - Modern life offers children almost everything they need, except daylight
November 14, 2018 - Getting better: A patient is more than a collection of numbers
November 14, 2018 - 20 Americans Die Each Day Waiting For Organs
November 14, 2018 - First bifacial molecule can invade double-stranded DNA or RNA
November 14, 2018 - Study finds lack of safety data for using flowers in cooking
November 14, 2018 - Statistical methods play key role in predicting efficacy of new drugs
November 14, 2018 - Health Tip: Limit Fat, Sugar and Salt in Your Child’s Diet
November 14, 2018 - CA 19-9 Blood Test (Pancreatic Cancer): MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 14, 2018 - Old drug could have new use helping sick premature babies
November 14, 2018 - Surgery, not antibiotics, should remain first-line treatment for appendicitis | News Center
November 14, 2018 - Researchers to develop sports-specific classification system for blind football
November 14, 2018 - Preschool children show awake responses to naptime nonsense words
November 14, 2018 - Survey shows negative effect of vulvovaginal atrophy symptoms on quality of life for women
November 14, 2018 - Study sheds light on mechanisms that prevent autoimmune attack
November 14, 2018 - Sleep quality found to be worse for women who undergo surgical menopause
November 14, 2018 - One-hour cognitive behavioral therapy session reduces insomnia symptoms in prisoners
November 14, 2018 - New study provides deeper insight into chromosome segregation during mitosis
November 14, 2018 - Surgical menopause leads to more disrupted sleep than natural menopause
November 14, 2018 - Inhibition of one protein clears toxic clumps seen in Parkinson’s disease, study finds
November 14, 2018 - Appendix removal is linked to lower risk of Parkinson’s
November 14, 2018 - Lifting weights for less than an hour a week may reduce cardiovascular disease risk
November 14, 2018 - Pulmonary rehabilitation rarely received by hospitalized COPD patients despite health benefits
November 14, 2018 - New anti-HER2 drug shows promising anti-tumor activity in gullet, stomach and bowel cancers
November 14, 2018 - Regular head circumference assessment of preterm babies can help identify long-term IQ problems
November 14, 2018 - Brigham investigators examine opioid use among Massachusetts adolescents, prescription trends
November 14, 2018 - Study defines biomarker in response to treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer
November 14, 2018 - Study identifies potential therapeutic strategy for patients with clear cell renal cancer
November 14, 2018 - Bausch Health Announces U.S. Launch of Bryhali (halobetasol propionate) Lotion, 0.01%, for Plaque Psoriasis In Adults
November 14, 2018 - Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP) Tumor Marker Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
November 14, 2018 - Researchers evaluate controversial treatment for Parkinson’s disease psychosis
November 14, 2018 - AI could help veterinarians code their notes
November 14, 2018 - Pre-schoolers with autism thrive in mainstream classroom settings
November 14, 2018 - Individual and work-related factors may help promote hospital physician engagement, finds study
November 14, 2018 - Complementary and alternative medicine is widely used by general population in England
November 14, 2018 - Study reveals link between tobacco availability and smoking during pregnancy
November 14, 2018 - Purdue researchers develop translucent base for silicon patches to deliver exact doses of biomolecules
November 14, 2018 - New technology based on moths and magnets could help treat genetic diseases
November 14, 2018 - Concussion-Related Biomarkers Vary Based on Sex, Race
November 14, 2018 - One more year of high school may shape waistlines later in life
November 14, 2018 - Dissecting high drug costs – Scope
November 14, 2018 - Study shows novel strategy to reduce breast cancer bone metastasis
November 14, 2018 - Empowering the NHS through Industry Partnerships
November 14, 2018 - One size does not fit all in obesity treatment, study finds
November 14, 2018 - Seeking ways to prevent ‘secondary cataracts’
November 14, 2018 - Change Within the Eye May Be Early Warning for Macular Degeneration
November 14, 2018 - Study of 500,000 people clarifies the risks of obesity
November 14, 2018 - Ultrasound releases drug to alter activity in targeted brain areas in rats | News Center
November 14, 2018 - Umass Amherst researchers battle against youth suicide in rural Alaska Native communities
November 14, 2018 - Cancer stem cells depend on amino acid metabolism, and it’s proving to be their Achilles’ heel
November 14, 2018 - Epigenetic link found between prenatal exposure to maternal smoking and offspring’s cardio-metabolic health
November 14, 2018 - Meditation, music may change biomarkers of cellular aging and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults
November 14, 2018 - Multidisciplinaryresearch teams selected to study age-related brain disorders
November 14, 2018 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Informatics
November 14, 2018 - Researchers identify tool to help transgender women have a more authentic voice
November 14, 2018 - Four faculty members appointed to endowed professorships | News Center
November 13, 2018 - Research finds strongest evidence yet that obesity causes depression
November 13, 2018 - Researchers compare stools of breastfed and formula-fed infants
November 13, 2018 - Entasis Therapeutics Announces Zoliflodacin Phase 2 Results Published in The New England Journal of Medicine
November 13, 2018 - Gene changes driving myopia reveal new focus for drug development
November 13, 2018 - $6 million grant to support study of preeclampsia, atherosclerosis links | News Center
November 13, 2018 - Beneficial gut microbes metabolize high-fiber diet to improve heart health in mouse model
November 13, 2018 - Excessive use of social media through visual postings linked to increase in narcissistic traits
November 13, 2018 - Study finds why obesity both fuels cancer growth and helps immunotherapy to kill tumors
November 13, 2018 - Women prefer and invest more in daughters, while men favor sons
November 13, 2018 - With hospitalization losing favor, judges order outpatient mental health treatment
November 13, 2018 - Transgenic rat model may provide new insights into cerebral amyloid angiopathy
November 13, 2018 - Study identifies factors tied to greater risk of advanced liver disease in cystic fibrosis patients
November 13, 2018 - Risk of blindness among premature babies with low levels of blood platelets
November 13, 2018 - A new strategy for combatting antibiotic-resistant infections
November 13, 2018 - Study aims to find which outreach method is more effective at improving cancer screening rates
November 13, 2018 - Insufficient sleep duration linked with unhealthy lifestyle profile among children
November 13, 2018 - IIASA researchers introduce new, simple measure for human wellbeing
November 13, 2018 - Magnetic nanosprings used as targeted drug delivery agents for anticancer therapy
November 13, 2018 - Scientists examine FCMs containing silver nanoparticles
November 13, 2018 - Failed DNA repair triggers chromosomal chaos
Opioid abuse leads to heroin use and a hepatitis C epidemic, researcher says

Opioid abuse leads to heroin use and a hepatitis C epidemic, researcher says

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Electron micrographs of hepatitis C virus purified from cell culture. Scale bar is 50 nanometers. Credit: Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, The Rockefeller University.

Heroin is worse than other drugs because people inject it much sooner, potentially resulting in increased risk of injection-related epidemics such as hepatitis C and HIV, a Keck School of Medicine of USC study shows.

As more people use opioids, many switch to heroin because it’s more potent and cheaper – a trend that complicates disease prevention as health officials crack down on opioids, said Ricky Bluthenthal, first author of the study and a professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine.

Stigmatizing drug use is an ineffective way to address a public health outbreak, he added.

“The market is saturated with opiates. That cat is out of the bag,” Bluthenthal said. “At this point, we have to figure out what we’re going to do about opioid abuse because the opioid crisis is leading to downstream infectious disease epidemics such as acute hepatitis C.”

Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence on Feb. 15, the study surveyed 776 people in Los Angeles and San Francisco about their drug use. Researchers limited the investigation to heroin, methamphetamine or speed, powder cocaine and crack cocaine.

About 99 percent of participants who used heroin, regardless of demographics, eventually injected the drug – nearly three times the injection rate of people who used crack cocaine. The second most injected drug was meth or speed, with 85 percent of users reporting that they moved to injection.

Heroin had the shortest incubation period – about half a year – from initial drug use to drug injection. It took meth and speed users about twice that time and powder cocaine users nearly five times that length of time to begin injecting.

“Heroin is less expensive than opioids and more potent,” Bluthenthal said. “So transitioning to heroin is reasonable. Heroin is much more efficient when injected, and that’s why we see this trend.”

On the road to a solution

As the nation tries to clamp down on the opioid epidemic, it may inadvertently drive people to heroin more quickly, Bluthenthal said. The real solution, he noted, is to get people better treatment for their opioid addiction.

From 2002 to 2015, there was a six-fold increase in the number of overdose deaths involving heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Hepatitis C linked to injection drug use has increased three-fold over a 10-year period, the study stated, citing research from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

“We want to interrupt people from escalating their drug use from legal prescription opioids to illicit heroin use,” Bluthenthal said.

Possible solutions include drug consumption rooms, supervised injection facilities, syringe exchange programs, overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution, Bluthenthal said. Naloxone is an antidote for opioid overdose.

“We’re always trailing the epidemic: We don’t know there is a problem until the bodies and infections start showing up,” Bluthenthal said. “We now know people are moving from opioids to heroin to injection. We missed the opportunity to change that progression, so we need to move more aggressively to reduce opioid abuse and to implement safer venues to consume drugs. The end result will benefit public health.”


Explore further:
From pill to needle: Prescription opioid epidemic may be increasing drug injection

Journal reference:
Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Provided by:
University of Southern California

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles