Hepatitis C Spreads as a Result of Opioid Epidemic

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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