Seattle has approved the nation’s first two safe-injection sites for people using heroin and other illegal drugs, The Washington Post reports. City officials said the sites are a drastic but necessary response to the opioid epidemic.
As the heroin crisis continues to escalate in the United States, interest is growing in the experience of North America’s only facility allowed to prescribe diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in heroin. The facility, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, has been successful in keeping participants out of jail and away from emergency rooms, The New York Times reports.
A group in Seattle says it wants to open a site where people can use drugs under medical supervision, according to The Seattle Times. Advocates say such sites can reduce overdose deaths, HIV and hepatitis C transmissions.
More needle exchange programs are needed for people who inject drugs in rural and suburban areas, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Addiction rates are rising in non-urban areas.
Rural areas hit hard by injection drug abuse are struggling to deal with the fast-growing problem, according to The Wall Street Journal. IV drug abuse is bringing large increases in HIV and hepatitis C to these communities.
Australian researchers have released the first-ever report on worldwide addiction statistics. They found about 240 million people around the world are dependent on alcohol, more than a billion people smoke, and about 15 million people use injection drugs, such as heroin.
Congress appears unlikely to overturn a ban on using federal money for needle exchanges, despite a severe outbreak of HIV and hepatitis due to increased heroin use in several states, The New York Times reports.
Prescription painkiller abuse is largely to blame for a big increase in the rate of hepatitis C among young people in rural areas of four states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Kentucky legislators are considering adopting a needle-exchange program, in an effort to reduce the spread of hepatitis C among injection drug users. The nearby city of Portsmouth, Ohio, has had some success with a similar program, USA Today reports.
Health officials in Indiana say a fast-spreading outbreak of HIV in Indiana is largely due to injection drug abuse of the prescription painkiller Opana. The powerful drug is more potent, per milligram, than OxyContin.