Hepatitis And Opioid Addiction

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Hepatitis and Opioid Addiction Introduction of Hepatitis and Opioid Addiction The chronic use of drugs place individuals at a higher risk for contracting viral hepatitis ("Viral Hepatitis," n.d.). Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue and has become an epidemic across the United States with drug overdose deaths being the leading cause of injury death in the United States ("The U.S. Opioid Epidemic," 2017). Opioid users, which include intravenous drug users as well as both heroin and prescription opioid misusers, are a higher risk than others to be infected with the hepatitis C virus (Murphy, Dweik, McPherson, & Roll, 2015). According to Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, “as the opioid epidemic has continued to evolve, there has been an uptick in heroin and now fentanyl related complications. Heroin is generally injected, and this comes with the risk of HCV” (Scutti, 2017, para. 35). My father was a chronic drug and alcohol abuser who died of liver failure which may have been associated with the hepatitis C virus. Therefore, in this paper I want to emphasize to the nursing profession and other members of the interdisciplinary team to be aware of Hepatitis C, opioid addiction and introduce ways we can reduce the incidence. Why is this a topic of concern and who is affected? Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver that can be caused toxins such as drugs and alcohol. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common viral hepatitis infection that is transmitted through risky behaviors that drug users most often engage in ("Viral Hepatitis," n.d.). HCV is a major risk factor worldwide ("Viral Hepatitis," n.d.), with nearly 10 million IVDU being positive for the HCV antibodies (HCV Ab) (Bruggman & Litwin, 2013). ... ... middle of paper ... ...nt they need (Bartlett et al., 2013). The CHN can also adopt the strategy used by The Harm Reduction Coalition: having a nonjudgmental attitude as being the best approach when working with persons who are addicted. This approach also helps the addicted person avoid harm from their addiction which can include contracting HCV. When addicted patients are cared for with care and compassion, they tend to live as healthy a life as possible given their circumstances and life choices they have made (Bartlett et al., 2013). Practitioners caring for opioid drug users, especially IVDU should consider hepatitis C in the perspective of the patient’s overall health (Edlin et al., 2013). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effective treatment of persons with addictions is to treat the whole person (Bartlett et al., 2013), including co-morbidities such as HCV.
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